When conversing normally, how often do you find yourself using three languages in the same sentence?
Although this situation may seem confusing to monolinguals, the ability to speak more than one language is more than just a social advantage in today’s diverse societies.
Numerous studies show that being multilingual can improve cognitive flexibility and delay dementia, especially in older people, in addition to other benefits whether cultural, psychological, or lifestyle.
With a population of 2.7 million ethnically diverse individuals in the state, diversity is something that Sarawak can tap into to make our youths on par with the competitive globalised world.
Here, it is not uncommon to find Sarawakians to be fluent in more than one language as we are often encouraged to converse in other languages apart from our mother tongue.
For instance, when it was announced that Sarawak would adopt English as one of the state’s official languages alongside Bahasa Malaysia, there was much positive feedback.
Various efforts have been made to encourage students to speak in English including the launching of several English language-based programmes in schools to improve proficiency.
Academically, students would find it useful, especially if they wish to pursue tertiary studies overseas, to have a strong command of not only Bahasa Malaysia but also English, as the latter is the universal language of commerce, science, technology, and literature.
For jobseekers who are looking to expand their careers in fields such as tourism, business, healthcare, journalism, and international relations, knowing more languages would make their resumes stand out in a pool of job applicants, thus boosting their chances of being hired by future employers.
The extra skill is also beneficial especially when employers are looking to send employees on overseas assignments.
In addition, companies tend to hire employees who can speak multiple languages and navigate through different cultures when exploring new business avenues worldwide.
Being multilingual in today’s globalised world also opens up social and cultural opportunities as it creates greater exposure and allows for open-mindedness.
When traveling to other countries, communicating in someone’s native language leads to deeper interactions with the locals, making the experience more rewarding.
There are almost 6,500 languages in the world and among the most spoken languages are Mandarin, English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Hindi.
So imagine the cultural and language barriers you’ll be able to overcome if you are able to master at least one major language.
As we now live in a globalised world, picking up an extra language is highly recommended as it not only provides a social advantage, it creates more opportunities for your career as well.
This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2u7Mylj
Image Source: Mergers & Inquisitions