Languages for the global citizen

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Besides providing an edge in employability and equipping one to face global competition, foreign language learning can improve one’s analytic skills.

Essential skills:On December 2, 1,700 candidates took various levels of Japanese language test conducted by the ABK-AOTS-DOSOKAI in Chennai.Photo: R. Ragu
Essential skills:On December 2, 1,700 candidates took various levels of Japanese language test conducted by the ABK-AOTS-DOSOKAI in Chennai.Photo: R. Ragu

After she quit her full-time job as an engineer in order to take care of her daughter, Dhanya Anand, decided to enrol for a foreign language course when her kid went to school. She opted for German and completed intermediate level and continues to learn further.

“Today I am a part-time German language teacher, and this helps me build a career that I enjoy, as well as take care of my family,” she says. Charmrajya Joideep, a commerce graduate, took a sabbatical for a year and completed six levels foreign language course, and that enabled her find a better job position in an MNC. Well-versed both in French and German, she now heads the linguistic team of Ford Business Services.

Knowledge of a foreign language opens the door to many opportunities. For many in India, learning a foreign language helps to have an edge in job market or to go overseas for higher education. For some it is a passion, and they enjoy the enriching experience. Whatever be the reason, the process of learning another language is rewarding.

“A couple of decades ago, the motives for learning a foreign language were different; it was just scholastic or a passion. Today, students and young professionals are showing great interest in acquiring this skill in order to find a better job and improving one’s career prospects. Another major reason is to study abroad,” says P. Seralathan of Goethe Institute.

“Today’s youth are global citizens and they think globally and plan a global career. Therefore, learning a foreign language has become a necessity, not just an option,” says Alexander Jesudasan, principal of Madras Christian College.

Diverse opportunities

“The opportunity for foreign language learners is diverse — teaching, employment, higher education, translation, tourism, hospitality and so on,” says Suchitra Ravi of Alliance Francaise.

“The gamut of needs and requirement for those who have knowledge of any foreign language is growing,” she adds. For those intending to migrate to Canada, knowledge of French is mandatory.

With the CBSE introducing Japanese, Mandarin, German and other foreign languages in schools, there is a great demand for teaching foreign languages, says M. R. Ranganathan, founder chairman of ABK-AOTS-DOSOKAI.

The institute offers Japanese course (both spoken and written) and this year around 1,700 candidates took the various levels of Japanese test on December 2.

Better placements

Mr. Jesudasan says, “With strong presence of Korean companies in Chennai, all our students who take the Korean class in the campus have been successful in finding placements.” For those who possess Japanese knowledge, job opportunities are possible both in India and in Japan.

Germany being a favoured higher education destination for many academically brilliant Indian students, the number of visas issued by the German Consulate in the past two years is on the rise.

There has been an increase of 70.59 per cent raise since the academic year 2008.

Cultural understanding is another important aspect of foreign language learning. Students are taught not just the language but learn about the culture, people, and cuisine. By listening to music and by watching documentaries and films students get familiar with the language they learn and this is the also the best way to learn outside classroom, says Ms. Suchitra Ravi.

Foreign languges institutes in Chennai:

German: Goethe Institute (

French: Alliance Francaise of Madras (

Italian/Spanish: Indo Italian Chamber of Commerce (

Japanese: ABK-AOTS DOSOKAI, Chennai Centre (

Chinese and other foreign languages: Inaword Institute (



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