When you learn a new language for work, you develop a new skill that bulks up your résumé — and that could open up new opportunities in the future.
Have you ever been so excited about a job listing that you wanted to apply immediately. But then, as you read on, you learn that it requires applicants to speak a second language. You dismiss the listing because you’ve never had the chance to learn a new language.
Learning a new language is now easier than ever before, though. New technologies and applications make it so that anyone, no matter how busy with work or personal life, can start to learn a new language on the go.
If you’re interested in exploring French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese or another language, all it takes is a download and some dedicated time each week. In fact, many apps guarantee proficiency in a month or less, if you commit to 30 minutes of practice each day. Here’s a rundown of why learning a second language can boost your career and be great for personal development — plus a list of the best apps for getting started.
Why Learn a New Language?
Foreign languages are often required in high school and college, not to torture students, but because they provide so many benefits. Here’s a list of just some of the many advantages enjoyed by speakers of multiple languages:
- Career Opportunities: Does your company serve clients in foreign markets? Do you someday want to travel internationally for work? When you learn a second language, you greatly enhance the chances of finding a dream job that allows you to travel overseas and work with colleagues and customers in foreign countries.
- Brain Power: Learning a new language is like weightlifting for the brain. The learning process helps improve your memory and your ability to multi-task. It also sharpens the brain as you get older and face increasing risk of dementia and similar conditions that affect the brain. Learning a new language even improves your decision-making skills.
- Enhanced Performance: Learning a new language also improves your problem-solving skills, which come in handy when you’re working in a challenging job that requires you to deal with uncertainty and choose specific actions that will move the company forward.
- Networking: A second language gives you a new perspective on our world and the people who live in it. It also helps you better connect with people in your own community and around the globe. When you have greater networking abilities, who knows where that networking might take you or your career?
The Top Apps for Learning a New Language
As noted above, there is no shortage of apps that you can download and start using to acquire a new language. Which is the best? It depends on your learning style and budget. Check out your top 8 options below:
Babbel: Babbel uses a “spaced repetition” approach to helps its users master new languages. As an added benefit for Travelers, the app focuses on terms and phrases that one is likely to encounter while traveling. Prices start as low as $6.95 a month.
Busuu: Choose Busuu and you’ll start learning via listening, reading, writing and speaking. You even get feedback on your progress from native speakers of the language you want to learn. You can get started with Busuu for free, and premium plans start at $6 a month.
Drops: Drops emphasizes vocabulary for those interested in visual learning. Each lesson is a 5-minute word game that makes the acquisition process more fun. Drops offers both a free plan and a premium plan that costs $9.99 each month.
Duolingo: Duolingo is one of the most popular language-learning apps. Its free version includes access to learning games. The app offers a colorful, attractive interface, and its point system is motivating on days when you don’t feel like learning. Duolingo also offers a premium version that comes with extra benefits.
Memrise: Memrise uses a video approach to language learning. During short videos, users get to listen to natives use different phrases, which helps them identify patterns for accelerated learning. A few daily lessons are available for free, and premium plans allow for greater usage.
Mondly: Mondly emphasizes science to assist users in the learning process. Interactive lessons and games are designed to help you learn 5,000-plus terms, words and phrases in the language of your choice. Start taking lessons for free, and get additional features by joining the $9.99-a-month premium program.
Pimsleur: If you’re looking to learn a language during your commute, Pimsleur may be the perfect option. Its hands-free approach to teaching includes the repeating of questions and answers in the chosen language. Pimsleur promises proficiency to anyone who commits to 30 minutes of practice for 30 days. Pricing varies depending on the program you choose.
Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone is one of the original products on the language-learning market. Its focus is on creating a sense of immersion for users, which accelerates the learning process. Prices vary based on the language selected and other factors.
December is the perfect month to sign up for one of these apps. Almost all are running some type of holiday-season deal. If you sign up this month, not only can you get started immediately learning a new language, you can also save some money.
JTB Business Travel: No Matter Where Work Takes You
No matter where work takes you, JTB Business Travel provides support before, during and after your trip. We help companies save on their travel spend while helping Travelers create itineraries that promote comfort and productivity. Behind everything we do is a common sense approach to business travel.
Contact us to learn more about how JTB Business Travel can support you and your company.