Value of Speaking Globally

Shenendehowa French teacher Jessica Palden has a story she loves to tell her students about the value of learning another language. When she was a new college graduate, Burton Snowboards offered her a job because the company needed a French-speaking customer representative.

Palden got free equipment and rode daily with the best snowboarders around, all because she was fluent in French.

While foreign language courses are being sliced from school districts’ budgets because of limited funds, trouble finding teachers certified in foreign language or a greater emphasis on basics such as math and reading, the ability to speak a language other than English has become increasingly important in the global business world. Although Spanish may be a smart language to acquire in North and South America, projections are that European markets will slow down while those in Africa open up, meaning that Arabic and French will become in-demand languages in the business world, said Sujata Chaudhry, a principal of Tangible Development, a Guilderland consulting firm that provides cross-cultural training and communication services.

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