Tag: learning a language

French or Spanish?

How useful is a second language in getting a better job? I speak four, but the other three are not very useful. Italian is spoken by Italians, Farsi by Iranians, and the other is spoken by still fewer people in a region of Iran. On the other hand some languages are either useful or relevant, depending on where you are. For example, French is Canada’s second official language and speaking it would open doors to employment in the French-speaking part of Canada or just companies that do business all over the country. Many communications positions require French bilingualism.

And well Spanish is the language of one of the other colonial powers of the world—there are tons of countries where Spanish will get you by. So of course that’s useful, and many businesses that have branches in south America, or just that do business there, will consider Spanish an asset. I have yet to see it as a requirement on a job posting, but I’m sure speaking it when you apply to a technology or mining company that does a significant portion of their dealings in south America will make your resume stand out.

Speaking Italian gives me an advantage in learning Spanish, but because I felt French would get me farther, I signed up for the French Rosetta Stone last month. I got a three-month membership, planning to finish the programme and after that expand my knowledge through movies, in-person meetups or clubs, one-on-one tutoring, etc. More immersion type stuff.

I have to say that being a complete beginner and following Rosetta Stone is often really difficult. It’s really boring and difficult to engage in it because you walk away each day feeling like you’ve made such little progress that it wasn’t worth the time it took. On the other hand, I do trust the method and as someone who’s learned three languages from scratch, I can attest that it is as near to an immersion experience as possible. Except that it’s in a vacuum, and you’ll need to be very, very good at motivating yourself in order to do it.

There are 20 units and I am only on unit 2 so in this month I’m ashamed to say I have done quite little. I used to do an hour a day, repeating certain parts I wasn’t sure about (this wasn’t necessary in the end because there is a ton of repetition and overlap, so you’re covered going through each lesson just once).

I’m going to update you on my Rosetta Stone progress when I get to the intermediate level of French. Have you tried to learn a second language to increase your employment prospects in the past and how did you do it? What language did you learn and was it as beneficial as you anticipated?