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A foreign language can take you places

Staff Reporter
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Ambition is driving Bangaloreans to add value to their CVs

When someone utters bonjour, guten Tag, ni hao or hola, don’t assume they’re native speakers.

As Bangalore becomes increasingly globalised, there is increased interest in foreign languages apart from the the all-time favourites French, German and Spanish. Simultaneously, many institutions and institutes are offering courses in languages as varied as Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Finnish, Russian and many more.

While there are those who learn a foreign language just for the love of it, professional ambition does play a big part when it comes to youngsters.

Fun turns serious

Arjun S., employed in the insurance sector, has mastered both French and Spanish. “I started learning French for fun at the Alliance Francaise. I then could see a lot of demand in the field for people who know foreign languages, so I took up Spanish as well at the Instituto Hispania to help my career.”

Insurance and IT companies look for individuals whose CVs have such value addition, as it helps them connect with clients worldwide.

K. Eresi, of Bangalore University’s Foreign Languages Department said that most students who take the courses are IT professionals. Engineers form a big percentage of the foreign language students who take the weekend classes, the professor said. “These classes help them cross the language barrier and look for a future abroad, be it for studies or for work.”

European languages

The Institute of Foreign Language and Culture (IFLAC), Basavangudi, offers courses in French, German, Spanish and Italian, with the demand being most for German and Spanish. Its director Sandy Mirpuri said: “Most of our students who took up Spanish have taken it forward professionally as well.”

Curiously, there are not many takers for Italian at her institute. “With Italy being a hub for management and design studies, it is a surprise that there are very few students for this course.”

Although Bangalore University offers courses in 10 languages, there has been no demand for Finnish, Portuguese and even Russian. “The demand is greatest for French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese as of now. However, the trend keeps changing depending on the global economic changes which impact the job possibilities,” Prof. Eresi said.

Many institutes are seeing a gradual demand for Japanese.

The Japanese Language School receives 10 to 15 students per batch for courses that last a minimum of five months. School director Lata Naik, who also teaches the language, said nearly 70 per cent of her students are engineers or management graduates. “The focus is on spoken Japanese as they look forward to working in Japan.”

Go-getters

One of the students, Ramakrishnan, confessed he was motivated by professional ambitions.

“I have to frequently interact with my colleagues and clients in Japan. There is a lot of future in Japan and learning this language will help me get more opportunities.” He also hopes to switch professions by taking language learning more seriously.

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