Inspiring young language talent

“Mayday mayday, we are sinking, we are sinking!”

“Hello, zis is ze German coastguard. Vat are you sinking about?”

With this little commercial from a German language school (see clip above) we introduced ourselves to about 150 students at the Fowey River Academy last Friday. The motto of the day was “Languages at Work” and we were asked to present the 12 – 16 year olds with some good reasons why studying a language at school is worthwhile. We put together a colorful presentation to illustrate the relevance of languages in careers such as translating, interpreting, linguistics, language teaching, and also less obvious careers, like games testing, journalism or intelligent services (MI5). “Who wants to become a spy?”, Anja asked and a few brave students raised their hands giggling.

Yet, even without a career as a spy or translator, languages play a very important part in work life. As a journalist for example, you might need to research an international news story and a source from abroad will be more likely to reveal important information if you approach them in their language. Or think about working as an event organiser where you might have to negotiate prices for a venue abroad or speak to international delegates. Being able to speak another language will always help you to stand out from other candidates. Why? Because it means that you can potentially help your company to take their products or services abroad. Speaking a foreign language is a real asset – one which is likely to be reflected in your pay package.

For more inspiration, check out our presentation: