The Coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down and brought entire nations to a halt. At the start of 2020, there were rumours of a flu-like virus from an almost unheard-of Chinese city called Wuhan. A few months later and it was a pandemic. A lot changed very quickly, and the power and beauty of learning online came into its own.
Time to Learn. With the COVID19 Pandemic came lockdown, with lockdown came free time. Less travel time to work, sporting commitments and other gatherings. Netflix and other streaming channels saw increased subscribers and viewers. Binge-watching was a global pastime. But this was not so for everyone. Some people took advantage of the spare time and good internet access as the perfect excuse for self-improvement. Zoom and other video conferencing platforms made communication easy. Online education was now more like sitting in a classroom than sitting in front of a screen and it was enjoyable.
The Joy of Online Learning. Online learning has been around for some time, language schools especially have been using the power of the internet to teach. But today, full university courses can be found online, and you never have to leave the comfort of your home. Technology has made online learning enjoyable, easy to access Zoom and video conferencing systems as mentioned above have made online education interactive, but technology goes further than that. There are many digital tools and specific software solutions that have made online learning and online training easier, less clunky and more enjoyable. All this has made learning a language online for example, easier with better results for the learner.
Improved Courses for an Improved You. Learning a new skill is something that makes us feel good, improves self-esteem, cognitive function and many skills can open up new avenues of opportunity in both life and career. Advances in computer software and technology have made learning online better than ever before. The pandemic has pushed online learning establishments to think more about how they teach and how they can combine various teaching methods with different technologies. With teaching methods and technology developing parallel with each other, a focus on producing better qualified and better-equipped students or people has become the goal. At the same time ensuring online learning is enjoyable remains a priority. If a learner is enjoying being taught, they will achieve better.
Online Training after Covid-19. COVID19 has been the shot in the arm that online training around the world has needed. Organisations offering any form of online learning from business skills and DIY to learning a language need to be on top of their game. The improvements in online training are here to stay. Those people who have spent time learning rather than lounging during the lockdowns now know the real benefits of online learning. The skills learned will remain part of their life and those companies who have actively encouraged and even funded online training through these tough times are now better off for it. Online learning has proven itself both to individuals and the commercial sector that it works.
Learn a Language Online. Since 1989 the Vocational Language Learning Centre has been helping people learn a new language. Today the language school uses some of the most advanced online training solutions to make learning a language online easier and more enjoyable than ever before. The beauty of learning a language online is hard to put into words as it can change lives completely. VLLC’s well-developed training programs that encourage a person to think in their new language not just speak it, has made online language learning possible for anyone. Online learning means you can learn at your own pace at a time and in a place that suits you best. You are assured of the best training using the best and proven techniques and you will enjoy learning your new language. Whether you are living here in Australia or find yourself in the UK, Europe, the USA or the Far East accessing the best way to learn a language and the resources of a well-equipped, hugely experienced school has never been easier. Join us today at www.vllc.com.au and experience the beauty of learning online.
Are you the future employee that is wanted to work overseas? Do you know what employers are looking for in potential international employees? The world has become a global village, Donald Trump may not like it but the facts speak for themselves and for a company to succeed globally it needs to have employees globally. As an employee looking to work overseas for an international company there are a few things a company is looking for.
Industry Knowledge and competence. To work overseas for an international company the employer will expect you to know the industry, company and your role very well. A level of experience, even for junior positions is essential. Knowing little about the company or not having enough experience or knowledge can be something that denies you an overseas role. Experience matters and always will. However, being a graduate you may well stand a good chance even without experience in a field related to your qualification if you have a special ingredient.
Confidence. As an employee of an international company working away from head office, you may well find yourself in a smaller office or even as part of only a small team and in some cases alone. International employers will look for confidence and someone who can adapt to change well. Showing initiative has always been something employers look for and internationally it is no different.
Country Knowledge. Knowing the company, its products and services as well as your role are vital. It is equally important to have knowledge about the country. Trading rules and mechanisms, culture, tradition and etiquette are essential. Having an understanding of geography, transport systems and social as well as business elements of the country are something a company is looking for in an employee. Working overseas an employee is expected to succeed and build a good reputation, having country knowledge will give you the edge. Again there is still a special ingredient missing.
All three of the above are things companies hiring overseas staff look for but there is one thing, one box that needs to be checked because of a special ingredient that makes a person to be perfect. That one thing is language.
Speaking the language. Being able to converse in the language of the country is the number one thing an employer looks for when selecting overseas staff to work in international offices. Demonstrating the capacity to do the work, having confidence, showing initiative and have knowledge of the country are all well and good but having language makes all the difference. It has been proven over many centuries that speaking the language of the locals secures business deals. Having a language and being able to converse about a company, its products and services in the native language creates trust. From trust, relationships are formed and from this business success is found. Learning a language can make all the difference, as an employee you become more valuable and with a language, you stand out and become less of a risk to send overseas or be employed overseas.
Our tutors have come up with their 5 top tips for doing business in China. Do you have what it takes to do business there?
Most people are under the impression that you have to move overseas to utilise your language skill. While opportunities definitely are available abroad, a foreign language skill can open doors to a variety of careers right where you are.
You gain much more skill from learning a language than just being able to communicate in another language. The practical skills that can benefit you from learning a language can include presentations, comparisons, researching and translating can lead you to a career in a range of areas.
Wherever your skill takes you can guarantee that your journey will be enriched by knowing how to speak a foreign language.
Possible career paths can include working with a charity or non government organisation such as Red Cross who work with refugees, Aid, asylum seekers or the homeless. This area of expertise can greatly benefit from having a bilingual member on their team.
Police or the Defence Force may benefit from bilingual employees as there are many areas of society which house citizens who have not yet mastered the English language and would require your assistance in a time of need. Being a bilingual officer also serves to help forge stronger community links with ethnic communities.
Travel and Tourism is an obvious employment sector and opportunities within the travel and tourism industry are numerous. You could find employment in the airline, transport, travel agency, hotel or tour company. You could write travel blogs, give tours, customer service or management roles.
In the journalism and media industries there are also opportunities for bilingual speakers. In the multi cultural arena which is Australia, communities with have media in their own languages which therefore requires people to write, film or produce communication and work in their language,
The business world also requires bilingual people to communicate in the ever increasing international arena. With the growth in technology it is becoming more common that Australian businesses have strong relationships with their overseas counterparts. Staff with excellent foreign language skills are crucial to these businesses.
CEO VLLC Aust
A linguist and Columbia professor, Mr John McWhorter, recently conducted a talkback radio feature relating to learning new languages and the necessity for this. I heard about this both on the radio and in a CCTNews article which I have referenced below. McWhorter makes the case that English is rapidly consolidating its position as the universal language, and points out how this begs an important question: if you speak English already, why bother learning another language?
According to McWhorter, English is on its way to becoming the predominant global language by the end of this century, thanks to its prevalence on the internet, and its use in the world of finance, diplomacy and air traffic control, and even though Mandarin is currently spoken by more people, far more Chinese speakers are learning English than the other way around. If that were not enough reason to forget about studying a foreign language, he adds that instant translation of live speech is getting better every year.
These two points lead McWhorter to ask: Why should anyone learn foreign languages if everyone will either be able to speak English, or have access to technology that will automatically translate speech?
McWhorter gives the following reasons as to why you should learn a foreign language:
McWhorter concludes with a reflection on how it has never been easier to teach yourself a language. “You used to have to go to class, go to the laboratory, use records… and books that didn’t work”. In comparison, now we have “modern methods of learning languages would have sounded like science fiction to very sophisticated people”.
We agree with McWhorter, in that the options for language learning now are very vast and accessible. To truly grasp a language though there is a necessity to practice your communication skill so that when it is time to use it in real life, you have the skill and the confidence to do so. At Vocational Lanaguge Learning Centre (VLLC) we teach languages using multisensory techniques so that the language becomes a usable skill, just like your first language.
Start your learning experience in any of VLLC's 12 foreign languages online and you will open your eyes to a brand new future! The possibilities are endless! VLLC offers foreign language courses taught in one to one tutorials for each of the following languages. Click on one of the following languages below to find out more; Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish or Thai. Learn your language at our Melbourne or Adelaide offices or via Skype using our exclusive online software.
Whether you want to learn a language for travel, business, love or to keep your brain active; VLLC have a comprehensive range of fully accredited courses to suit your needs.
VLLC aim to give students a voice and the self-assurance to speak through the practical application of the language. Key reasons to complete a course with VLLC include:
See how our language courses can help you and have a look at some of our Student's stories to see how learning a language can change your life.
Whether you are conducting business with the French, a city lover, beach lover, skier or lover of the countryside, France has it all, from arts and culture to fantastic food. France hits the jackpot! From the beaches of the South in Nice and Saint-Tropez to the vineyards and hop growing areas of Alsace in the North, France has something that appeals to everyone. While France has it all for many visitors, France is barely touched, let alone uncovered, because of one simple thing: French.
Fans of the hugely popular Only Fools and Horses will all know how the main character Del Boy used misplaced French phrases to make him sound impressive or to just get a point across, common phrases that really are not phrases such as “It’s Boeuf Bourguignon, as the French would say”. While people around the world, including the French, have laughed till they hurt at Del Boy’s use of French. It does nonetheless, speak volumes about the importance and even respect that the language has in getting to know France and the French people. Speaking French raises a person up in French society and shows considerable respect in a nation where respect is important.
Having more than a smattering of French makes a massive difference to any visit to the rich and diverse country. With language, a weekend in Paris becomes more than just a quick trip up the Eiffel Tower, a visit to Euro Disney and a brisk walk around Pompidou Centre or the Louvre following in the footsteps of each and every tourist. Language lifts the lid of, not just Paris, but the whole of France where small, family run restaurants can be happily visited without the worry of not being able to understand what is on the menu, or morning coffee can be shared in a pavement café, watching the world go by whilst deep in conversation with a true Parisian.
Knowing how to communicate in the French language opens up the French Culture and allows you to blend in to experience, not just a country, but a way of life. Iconic tourist attractions are seen with different eyes when you can converse in French and you can begin to understand why the people of France are so proud of what they have. Historic castles such as Le Puy-en-Velay in the South of France and the Chateau de Chenonceau, open up in a whole new way of being able to talk about and discuss the stories behind the walls in French. In their native language. Stories become more alive and you will, of course, discover little things that those without the ability to speak French would miss out on.
Even a walk in the Winelands of France come to life with French. Being able to discuss Red wine in Bordeaux with a local farmer and uncovering smaller wine estates that may be off the grid because you cannot speak French, turns wine tasting into a real French adventure. France has so much more to offer than just the Champs Elysees, Eiffel Tower, and Euro Disney and it can only truly be uncovered by being able to communicate in French.
Being bilingual not only makes traveling a lot easier but it exponentially increases who you can be friends with, it provides many benefits in the business world. Many people say – “I can get by with English” – “why do I need to bother about learning a second language”, this may be OK in an English speaking country with English speaking clients and colleagues, but what about when the world comes to your doorstep? There are 5.5 billion people who don’t speak any English at all!
So what are some of the advantages and how can you make the hours of learning a second language impact your pay packet….
Your CV. Being able to speak a foreign language and having experience with a different culture looks good on any application. It also assumes many other soft skills, that HR managers rate highly - such as empathy towards non English speakers, cultural flexibility, international outlook. In today's competitive job market being bilingual is a tremendous value-add to employers that separates you from the other pile of resumes. The more diverse your skill set is the more emplyable you become. According to the latest Education and Skills Survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), “72% of businesses say they value foreign language skills” and 52% say they are “recruiting new staff with language skills”. The Languages for Jobs report, published by the European Commission, also found that “40% of recruiters in the industry sector highlighted the importance of language skills for future higher education graduates”.
Job promotions. There aren't many situations where language skills are the reason that someone gets passed over for a promotion, or even just to keep your job. But in an increasingly competitive job market, why would you not give yourself every possible edge? Being able to communicate in other languages makes you much more valuable to an employer.
David Goodman-Smith, managing partner at China Study Abroad, a full-service agency based in Beijing, says his company's fastest-growing group of students are people looking to enhance their employment opportunities. "Having that competitive edge on your CV these days can be invaluable and Mandarin is without a doubt an eye-catcher. Companies are on the lookout for these kinds of experiences more and more," he explains.
Rapport building. Building your network. As we all know, most business is based on relationships – especially in Asia. The minute you start to speak your client’s language, you build rapport which can save time and money in the long term. Isn’t it easy to ring and directly talk to your clients, rather than go through a translator.
More money. While there are no definitive studies showing the increase in pay for those who are bilingual, there are many personal anecdotes, which show that being bilingual is an advantage when it comes to pay rates. Look at the following statements taken from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2014/04/17/how-learning-an-additional-language-could-influence-your-business/
The U.S. Committee on Economic Development (CED) suggests that American businesses lose more than $2 billion a year to language or cultural misunderstandings. To be successful, international businesses (which are pretty much all of us these days, as foreign trade has become a substantial component of our economy) need to adapt to the needs of foreign clients as well as to communicate with foreign partners effectively.
Consider these statements from the CED:
“For Richard Wagoner, the President and CEO of General Motors, learning Portuguese while on assignment in Brazil increased his eﬀectiveness in working with the Brazilian business community. Douglas Daft, the former chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, spent nearly three decades living in Asia while working for Coca-Cola. He believes the cultural knowledge he gained from his time in the region shaped his ability to lead the company, and considers understanding and valuing other cultures to be an essential skill for anyone working at Coca-Cola.”
Nearly 80% of business leaders surveyed believe their overall business would increase notably if they had more internationally competent employees on staﬀ, the CED concludes. Additionally, one in five U.S. manufacturing jobs was already tied to exports by 2006, the CED maintains.
Foreign consumers, the majority of whom primarily speak languages other than English, represent signiﬁcant business opportunities for American producers, as the United States is home to less than ﬁve percent of the world’s population. Additionally, trade is shifting to diﬀerent parts of the world, the CED notes. The United States’ annual trade with Asia is now approaching $800 billion (as of 2006—the sum is likely even much greater today), significantly out-pacing our trade with Europe. (Note to career seekers: for your job and salary prospects as well, being fluent in a second language is a definite plus.)
Have a look at the current Languages of the Future. https://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/policy-insightresearch/languages-future-2017.
Discover 5 of the fastest-growing languages in the business world right now and contact us with a VLLC Course coordinator to discuss your personal vocational requirements.
Russia for people of a certain generation was a cold and off-limits part of the world. With the KGB supposedly hovering on every street corner and only “Meester Bond” seemingly able to penetrate the country that always wanted to take over the world, it was hardly a place to visit and even less a place to do business with.
As much as President Putin has not always been Mr Popularity, Russia is nonetheless a booming place for tourism and a growth market for business. No longer is Red Square the only place on the tourist map and no longer is business considered spying on the nation, Russia is one of THE places to visit. However, to make it an even better place to visit and do business with, speaking Russian opens the country, its people, culture and tremendous business opportunities.
Russia is a vast country and yet one that has only recently opened for tourism and more widely for business. It has always claimed to be “open”, but perceptions of the country kept it more closed. However, Russia has come to realise that foreigners entering the country are no longer MI5 agents or spies but rather can add value to the bottom line of the economy.
Business and leisure can be mixed perfectly in Russia, and by speaking the language, one soon sees that Russians are not miserable people trapped in a communist past. The people of Russia are as cheerful as any others on earth, they want to show their country, and they are proud to do so. Speaking the language makes doing business better, trust is gained when you speak the language of another country, and common courtesies extend to improve business relations. Not only is trust gained, but by speaking Russian, nothing is lost in translation.
Some say that Russian is one of the easiest languages to learn, and even by just learning a small amount, the Russian Map unfolds more than you can imagine. Places away from the tourist traps of Moscow and St Petersburg become open, and the true culture and way of living in Russia can be experienced. Eating out in Russia becomes an enjoyable and almost festive experience when you speak Russian, and because the people are friendly and they are able to converse with you, happiness flows.
Not so long ago, Russia was not considered the best place to visit. Transport infrastructure was poor, hotels (except the top five-star establishments) were not always up to scratch, and the places to visit were somewhat limited. Today all this has changed, even destinations on the Black Sea that are popular domestic destinations for Russians, have become accessible to tourists from overseas. Transport, rail and air networks have improved considerably and made Russia a great place to visit and do business with. Despite these improvements, speaking Russian still gives any tourist or business traveller a tremendous advantage.
Russia wants to move forward and lose many of the perceptions from the past, and because of this, the country and its people are among the most hospitable on earth. Taking advantage of speaking Russian will allow you to take advantage of the hospitality and climb inside a country that you will want to, and because of its size, need to, visit many more times.
Language is how we communicate and has been important from the most basic of communication since man first started to grunt and make sounds to get a message across.
On modern day earth there are some 6,500 spoken languages that allow some 8 billion people to communicate. Language is clearly Important.
You are reading this article in English, it has become the language of business, but it is not the most spoken language in the world. Mandarin is the most spoken mother tongue language in the world with some 1,213,000,000 people speaking it, English in comparison has only 360,000,000 speakers which gives rise to why learning a language is a great investment.
There is something powerful and magical about learning a language and investing in learning a language which opens doors both in life and business that no other tool can. In a world where technology is bringing cultures closer, language is still the most important tool. Sure, anyone can type a message and have Google Translate it, but have you ever tried translating the translation back into your original language? Tone and emotion are lost and very often the meaning is not what you really wanted to say.
Investing in learning a language allows you to use your human mind to converse with emotion and meaning. The value of this alone is worth more than many imagine, and from it comes a level of respect that few people will ever understand. The emotional power of being able to speak another language is worth more than any investment you could make elsewhere.
The real value of investing in learning a language today must surely be business. Finding a way to give you the edge rather than your competition is the goal of every business today. Language creates more than just one step better and affords improved long term and sustainable relationships just because communication is improved. For this reason, people looking for a better paid job with more prospects become valuable resources to any company if they have invested in learning a language.
There is very much a win-win result in business today when someone can speak an extra language. Companies investing in their employees to learn another language is on the increase because they understand the value and importance of vocal communication and cultural understanding and tolerance.
Investing in learning a language has another benefit over and above being good for business and job prospects. Speaking a second or even third language allows a person to get under the skin of another country, its culture and people. Having invested in learning a language, any business trip gains a new dimension and vacations become that bit more off the beaten track. As was stated at the beginning, language is the key to opening many doors and in reality, adds extra zest and enjoyment to life in way that nothing else can.
If your only reason for investing in learning a language is just because, then do it and you will see a whole new world open up around you.
Learning to speak a foreign language has been quite a daunting task for many people. Over the centuries, students, businessmen and women, tourists, explorers and migrants to name a few, have often tackled long hours of classroom study and travel in order to be able to communicate in another language.
Learning to speak at least one foreign language is seen as essential to Australia's developing markets. Bilingual fluency is opening up new career and personal opportunities in an increasing number of well paid trades and professions. It can open up another window to the world for Australian students and business people.
VLLC's unique online method is fast and fun and enables students of all ages and backgrounds to learn a language at their own pace and in their own place. Students can now learn Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, Russian, Arabic, French, German, Spanish, Greek, German and English in the comfort of their own home or office and enjoy the same personalised service for which VLLC is renowned. VLLC's online system eliminates the need for boring class study and lengthy grammar learning of traditional methods. It teaches the use of the new language in the same interactive way we all learned our native language. Students start using the new words and absorbing the new culture from the very first day of their individualised tuition. Contact VLLC, make the most of the new normal and use your time to advance your personal growth and career.
These blogs are about learning a foreign language and utilising that skill to forward your professional path.