Foreign Language – Hobby or a Profession

“I am joining a Foreign Language Course!” the moment I said this, everyone had the same question, “As a hobby or for a profession?”

“Both”, my reply as a teenager pursuing graduation seemed to be French and Latin to everyone. And yes, this time it is pun intended J

One would often hear parents asking their children to focus on their studies rather than anything else. My parents felt the same thing too. Along with my graduation, they were okay with me picking up any computer course that was aligned to the graduation stream I was studying.  But Foreign Language was not in their wildest imaginations.

What, Why, Where, When, Who and How, all our learning friends were fired at me.

This time I was prepared with my research. Thanks to the Foreign Language Training Institute that had conducted an awareness session just the day before.

I gathered my family in our hall and began my talk.

“My dear family let me begin with the benefits part of my hobby first.” And everyone frowned.

My father yelled, “Now that you are grown up, you still are thinking hobby first? What will I do with this nut?

“Dad, please let me finish!” I somehow got him back in his seat.

I enquired, “Learning a foreign language is like facing the unknown. And unknown is always fearful. Am I right?”

Everyone nodded.

“What if I told you all that this hobby of mine is going to increase my self-confidence?

Now everyone had a big question mark on their face.

I continued, “The only way to overcome your fears is by facing them. With proper training and guidance one can learn any of the Foreign Languages and literally learn to overcome this fear of the unknown. As I result after completing a course, the certificate will sky rocket my self-confidence and it would add one more feather in my cap!”

I saw the question mark turning into an exclamation!

I added, “Now let’s come to health benefits. Research has shown that learning a totally new foreign language can improve brain power. This can lead to improvement in analytical skills which enhances ones decision making abilities. Such bright brains are very good at multi-tasking, as well!”

The expressions now changed to being amused.

Now was the time to nail the hobby part. I boasted, “Learning a new foreign language also increases the flexibility of the mind in an individual and accelerates the ability to process problems that are complex in nature – so my marks in other subjects can also improve. It also improves formation and structure of sentences in the languages already known to one. So you can expect even my mother tongue and English to improve!”

“Ok! But how will this be useful in profession?” my elder sister halted my flow.  

I shot back, “Improvement in my overall performance opens the gate to various scholarships. Once I complete my formal education, an additional foreign language on my resume will boost its value. It can open up the doors for me in multinational companies. Who knows, I can even get overseas job opportunities. I can take you around the world and even speak to the locals in their own language in certain countries”

I could see the dreams of a foreign destination in everyone’s eyes.

I concluded, “Besides, I have read that there is a huge demand for foreign language interpreters. One can even earn additional income by picking up translation and transcription assignments.”

“Go ahead my son!” asserted my mother who was a silent listener till this time. “If there is so much scope for learning a foreign language, you must do a course from a reputed institute.”

My father finally agreed, “Yes! My son, you must do it instead of any other course that the entire world ends up doing. It will carve a niche career for you. And I know for sure if a hobby becomes your profession, you will never have to work in your entire life. Your passion will take you places!”

Friends, in today’s fast paced world, we end up calculating the ROI (Return on Investment) of each and everything we do. Instead of doing run of the mill courses and spending huge sums of money, can we think of a logical course that can open up a plethora of employment opportunities for us? I am yet to come across such a career avenue than learning a foreign language. How about you?

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