Learning another language opens a world of possibilities. With each extra language you learn, you add a tool to your toolbox, allowing you to be more versatile and equipped. However, what you do with those tools is key.
Here are four examples of people I’ve met who speak Chinese who have used it for their benefit.
1. Jamie studied Chinese diligently and went abroad twice to both China and Taiwan where she went through all the advanced Chinese courses she could find. She taught English on the side to support herself, but eventually became fluent enough in Chinese to land a full time translation job in Taiwan. After she acquired enough experience, she applied back to several firms and government associations in Washington DC for a translation position and is now a top translator for the US government where she has a steady income and a happy life.
2. Chris took a similar route in China, but after landing a translation job in China his boss later offered him a job in sales and marketing within the company. Through his good translation skills and hard-working attitude, Chris’s boss believed he could tackle other skills even though he had no experience in the other two fields. Chris jumped on the opportunity and took the position, which he then worked diligently at it for a few years, and later gained enough skills and experience in China to land a job in Silicon Valley where he acts as a liaison between supply chains in China and Electronics vendors in the US. Chris currently makes six figures USD a year and believes learning Chinese was a key stepping-stone to his success.
3. Matt, however, just liked learning languages and thought it would be nice to check out China. While there, he supported himself teaching English and made such a good impression with his employer just because he could speak Chinese with the students’ parents that he was offered a management position at the school. He gained a lot of hands on and valuable experience from the position and then decided to head back to the US and do an MBA. After applying to various schools, one of them offered him a full ride simply because he had experience abroad in China and could speak a little Chinese. Matt now does business, not so much in China, but his initial passion for taking a step to learn Chinese paved a bright future for him.
4. Amy was fascinated with anthropology and wanted to research the various ethnic groups throughout China. To prepare for her research, she took an intensive three-month course in Chinese, which gave the basics for getting around China. She felt her research and experience was enriched from learning the language, and it was later published in various outlets. This opened up the door for her to do a PhD at an Ivy League school and she is now a respected professor.
The list goes on. Learning a language won’t just limit you to language-based careers if you think outside the box and allow the experience to take its natural course. You are also likely to learn something new about yourself and have a more enriched life as well.