Today, speaking more than one language opens many doors, both in the workplace and in social and personal environment, but many still do not understand it. Being multilingual has become necessary if you want to succeed, especially in business.
English is considered the most important language in the world, but Spanish, Arabic, French, Chinese, Russian and German are taking more and more strength.
In Panama, the culture of learning languages is so poor ??because they think they don’t need it, but when it comes to looking for a job, the reality is that at least being fluent in English is required.
It is easier to learn languages when you are a child because you are able to absorb more information, but as one grows older, it becomes more difficult.
When I hear someone says “I do not have the facility for languages ??like you,” I take it as a cheap excuse and laziness to spend time to learn, because I know many people that even speaking with very strong accent they, in extreme situations have learned to speak a language to survive in another country. Unacceptable excuse.
In my experience, to learn a language you first need to know which language is a priority for your daily business or social relationships, and not to pick it up random, because otherwise if you don’t practice it, you will forget it and that represents waste of time and money. In my case, I have three options that interest me; German, French and Arabic. I chose Arabic as a priority for me since I socialize a lot with Lebanese people and for my business it will be a big plus in the future since I intend to get into the Arab market when Arab Emirates starts flying into Panama.
Tourism websites claim that over 50% of Panamanians speak English. In my 21 years living here, i could tell that not even 10% speak it. Every single day I help translate simple questions of foreigners who do not speak Spanish.
This is where comes another situation to excuse the laziness to learn … “If they come to this country, they must learn the language spoken here.” Really? Unlike many foreigners I know here, they have made the effort and still do it to learn Spanish because they don’t want it to be difficult socializing on the streets, but local people, on the other side, rather than using the situation and learn English or another language, are enclosed in this bubble of laziness and ignorance because they think they are doing fine.
Conclusion: If you want to succeed and be proud of it, open your mind and spend a little time to learn something as essential as it is to learn another language.