In 2018, it’s all about being bilingual. In many countries, particularly those in Europe, students are mandated to learn two to three languages throughout their academic career. Schools have students pick up the languages early and quickly immerse the students in a linguistically diverse learning environment. Upon graduation, these bilingual students are extremely sought after in most if not all industries. They will find themselves surrounded by opportunities in a variety of industries, academic and professional alike. Institutions and corporations around the world desperately seek to hire these multilingual individuals as they are capable of taking on many tasks that the many monolingual employees cannot. Multilingual individuals serve as essential channels of communication between different countries necessary for corporations to expand and gain recognition internationally.
The exponential expansion the digital world brought forth a heavy emphasis on the speed at which information is dispersed across the globe. Without the presence of multilingualism, information would not be able to travel as quickly as it does. The hypothetical delay effected by a lack of multilingualism would be detrimental for the economy on both a national and global scale. A study involving small and medium-sized companies in Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and France found that companies that invested more in familiarizing themselves with different languages were able to export more goods. Companies hoping to dominate its niche industry should start focusing on cultivating the linguistic skills needed to communicate effectively with foreign targets.
Moreover, languages can also help a country’s workforce in more subtle but long-term ways. Studies have shown that multilingualism is good for brain health and can potentially delay the onset of dementia. It has also been associated with enhancements in concentration and information processing. Multilingual individuals tend to work efficiently for longer periods of time in comparison to those who aren’t. These trends apply most commonly to people who were multilingual from a young age. Nevertheless, individuals that acquired languages later in life still reaped many of the health benefits of a multilingual brain.