Why work relocation and language training should go hand-in-hand
Should I learn a new language if I am relocating?
When you are considering relocating to another country, whether the motivations are professional or personal, you have no doubt wondered whether learning a language will be necessary. While you may be able to get by with limited language knowledge, being able to speak the local language will allow you to settle into your adoptive country with far greater ease.
Integrate into a new culture
Language lessons concern more than just learning how to speak a new language: they should also teach you about culture. Cross-cultural training is essential if you are to avoid faux pas when you move to another country. Did you know, for instance, that in China you should accept business cards with both hands, or that in Korea, you should never leave your chopsticks standing upright in a bowl of rice? To avoid offending those you interact with, it will be useful to have language classes with a native speaker so that you can avoid these cultural mistakes, becoming aware of the unique cultural aspects from someone who really knows what it is like to live in the country. BiCortex, which specialises in language training, translations and business training for expatriates, offers cultural training in addition to language lessons and lessons are always conducted by a native speaker.
Language and cultural are inseparable. So is the case with relocation and language training.
Cultural awareness makes for an effective leader
Diversity and inclusion is increasingly featuring as a business priority and cultural understanding is considered a necessary part of managerial training. This is not only due to the fact that being appreciative and cognisant of culture differences makes your employees feel happier and more respected at work, but also because making cultural gaffes will ultimately hit your bottom line. In a highly interconnected world, a company with a truly global mindset will learn how to communicate with both colleagues and clients in a language they understand and in a way they understand. For these reasons, companies looking to be internationally successful will offer language lessons, whether virtual or in-person, as part of their expatriation policy.
It particularly important to learn a language in order to establish one’s authority when communicating with the rest of the business team. Your colleagues will no doubt be sympathetic to the unique challenges you are facing, but if you are unable to communicate your ideas, you may soon discover that these ideas are side-lined, or that your inability to express yourself easily is misinterpreted as incompetence. For expatriates, English, German, French and Russian lessons feature amongst the most in order to achieve more professional success.
Taking a language course is recommended not just for the employee who is to be expatriated, but for the whole family. The expatriate’s lessons can take place prior to relocation as well as after arrival in the new country. For children, learning some part of the language before they move will allow them to understand their classmates more easily so that the first days of school are far less daunting. For spouses who are not intending to work, it allows them to make friends and undertake administrative tasks to support their partner. To develop closer relationships with the locals, and to have the ability to participate in group conversations at larger gatherings, language fluency is a must.
How can I learn to speak another language?
1. Read books
Books are a great way to learn a new language, particularly if you are a visual learner and benefit from seeing words written on a page. Starting with beginner level stories, language training is made fun as you read an engaging story, with pictures aiding comprehension.
2. Take lessons online
The internet has revolutionised the education space, with virtual classrooms offering the possibility for highly interactive, effective lessons. The advantages of having online language lessons over face-to-face classes is that you can learn anywhere at any time. Allowing you to speak to anyone in the world without leaving your home, online lessons also facilitate being put in touch with native speakers.
Relocation and language training definitely go together! Whether you are going for s short-term project, or you are on 5-year assignment.
The benefits of living and working in a new country is that you will have ample language exposure. Before you move to the country, in addition to some introductory language lessons, it will be worthwhile listening to as many podcast, YouTube videos, radio and music in the target language as you can. Complementing this aural learning with reading and speaking practice will help significantly.