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4 reasons why Millennials should care about learning languages.

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We’re looking at you, Generation Y. In today’s globally interconnected world, Millennials play a key role in shaping everything from important technical advancements to foreign policy practices. They’re the most diverse, culturally curious generation we’ve seen so far - and while they can connect instantly with someone else a continent away, there is still progress to be made as far as the number of multilingual speakers that have emerged. If you’re a Millennial, we’re here to change that.

What does it mean to be categorized as a “Millennial”? The term gets thrown around pretty frequently, and has a lot of associations - both positive and negative - that can make 20-to-30-somethings feel like they’ve been reduced down to a single classification. Generally, if you reached your young adult years somewhere around the year 2000, you’re eligible for inclusion. You’re probably well educated, but may have experienced the struggle of securing a fulfilling, well-paid job. Or, you’re simply having trouble advancing at that job. Learning just one new language can have the power to literally save your career, while helping you build the skills necessary to stand out in the impressively large Millennial pool. Here’s why.


4. Employers want polyglots more than ever before.

And rightly so. Knowing a second (or third!) language could be the single decision-maker between you and another qualified candidate. In fact, many companies are starting to make foreign language skills part of their core requirements when hiring season comes around - and we’re here to make sure you don’t get left in the dust.

Gone are the days when foreign language training was just for careers in translation or interpretation. Got your sights set on a job in investment banking or finance? Goldman Sachs requires about half of their employees to demonstrate fluency in a second language, with German and Mandarin Chinese being the preferred choices. Is your dream role in sales, marketing or health care? You’ll want to consider taking up Spanish - the growing Latino market means that businesses are investing more and more money to target those consumers, and they want to hire employees who can communicate with them.

If you’re a Millennial, congratulations - you’re part of one of the most hardworking, educated, and well-rounded generations to date. That’s a great thing! But when everyone else is high caliber, it also means you’ll need to work a little harder to stand out from the crowd. Fight the urge to simply check off those college language requirements, and instead commit to truly mastering a foreign language or two. It’ll make that job recruiter look twice, and your paycheck will thank you.


3. It fuels your global curiosity.

Setting your budding career aside for a moment, learning a language will certainly help you get the most out of your travels, whether they are personal or professional. Like many other Millennials, you may have felt the urge to experience different cultures first hand - in fact, 59% of U.S. Millennials say that they’re willing to relocate to a foreign country. More and more are choosing to forgo the frustrating job search on their home turf, instead turning to the “digital nomad” lifestyle that allows them to travel while bringing in a modest income. We’re all for that, but we can’t stress enough the importance of being able to speak the local language while you’re there. It’ll allow you to overcome social barriers, communicate with a new group of people, and help you feel more at ease in a new environment. Even if you’re just traveling for a short period of time, learning a few words of the language can profoundly enhance your understanding of the local culture - and we can bet you’ll walk away with some lifelong friends.


2. The trend isn’t going away anytime soon.

Bilingual Millennials aren’t just here to stay - they’re quickly taking over. The graph above says it all: the number of Millennials who speak a second language has increased 73% from 2003 to 2013, and that number is only going to continue climbing in the coming years. While these statistics are focused on English vs. Spanish speakers in the U.S., there are a handful of languages with high demand but low supply that you might consider exploring as well. No matter the language you choose, you’ll be gaining a valuable skill that will provide long-term benefits stretching far beyond the classroom.


1. Learning a language is a proven confidence booster.

In today’s competitive, self-image-focused world, it can be easy to get down on yourself. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed by grad school applications or underwhelmed by your career path, a little bit of confidence can go a long way. According to a study titled 2016 Business Impact Survey, a whopping 80% of Millennials agreed that they felt a significant increase in confidence levels as a result of foreign language training. With higher confidence comes a willingness to take more risks, and that could be just the thing you need to take your personal or professional life to the next level.


Here at Mango, we love spreading the word about the power of language and culture learning - and we can’t wait to see even more Millennials boarding the polyglot train. If you’re ready to be noticed, more confident, and competitive, taking that first step in your language learning journey is only a click away. Choose from 70 languages, including themed courses like Legal Spanish and yes - even Pirate. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Britta Wilhelmsen

Britta is a University of Michigan graduate, currently living and working in the vibrant city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. When she's not busy teaching English to business professionals or writing for Mango, you can find her enjoying the sun in one of Buenos Aires' beautiful parks and/or studying Spanish in her free time. Like many mangos, she believes that language consistently makes life more colorful.

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