Friday, October 10, 2014

What are the advantages of being bilingual in today's society?

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            Western society has always walked a path towards globalization. From the urge to colonize other lands to the need of finding new markets, men and women have always adapted in order to prevail in such big world. The landmarks are clear: the Great navigations and the Industrial Revolution were times in history in which modern society shifted the paradigms. Lately we have been experiencing another shift: the Information revolution. And how are we supposed to adapt now? By learning a second language. What second language is more adaptative? English, for it has become a Lingua Franca. Simply put, to adapt to an ever changing world, learning English as a second language provides many advantages, both personally and professionally, to individuals.

            To begin with, one must acknowledge that contemporary culture is based in English, and (almost) everyone would like to access the cultural products of their time. There is an enormous amount of movies, series, books, articles, songs, etc bombarding us each and every day, and we  are bound to consume them. Apart from entertaining objectives, individuals also want to know about what is going on in the world. With the click of a button, one might access different information regarding politics, economics, religion, culture, among other topics. Reaching information is easy, but being able to access it will depend on how well you can understand what is being explained. Even though translations are fairly common nowadays, it is not the same to read or watch something in a language other than its original one. A lot gets lost in translation, and learning English will grant you full access to a lot of the information you wish to access, both in your spare time and work time.

            Learning English may also provide you with another advantage in terms of what you do in your leisure time: knowing English will make traveling much easier. Most people enjoy getting to know other cultures and places in the world, but it is quite difficult to learn the language of each country we wish to visit. Because English has become a língua franca, in most sights you travel to, you can communicate using it. So, once again, English integrates you to the world around you; it keeps you from being alienated.

            One last advantage to consider is related to professional goals: being bilingual might give you a jump start in your career. Unfortunately, in a capitalist society, not being alienated depends on how much information you can afford to have. In order to travel, to have internet connection, to have a TV, a smart phone, books, tablets, etc, one must work, earn money, and buy all of these gadgets and commodities. Therefore, we are constantly looking for better job positions and offers, which mean, basically, better payment. To succed in this race, people must show why they are better professionals, and one way to do that is by mastering another language. For that reason, English has become almost a requirement, not only an advantage anymore.

            To sum up, if you wish to insert yourself in todays society, being able to access all that it is offering us, you should learn a second language. Start with English, for it is the most spoken language in the world, it is a Lingua Franca and it is your front row ticket to watch the Information Revolution evolve. After all, Western Society has never walked back in the path it has created; we are always improving and enlarging our means of communication around the world.

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