I think it is very fascinating how nowadays language-knowledge is shaping our lives, our personalities and even our workplace. Recently, a group of researchers in Sweden found some intriguing results on how learning a new language effects young adults, their brain showed growth in some specific language-related areas following the training. Similarly, other studies support the idea that bilingual children may see benefits in attention and task-switching skills. However, all the glitter is not gold and multilingualism has its down-sides too. Indeed, people who speak more than one language often experience many ‘tip-of-the-tongue’ moments and young children are often caught in a cross-fire which sometimes prevents them from expressing themselves well.
As a native bilingual and fluent speaker of four languages I must say that I have personally encountered a lot of positives from this ability. I am an Italian and Russian native speaker and since I was a child I used to express myself in both languages, spending long periods both in Italy and Belarus – where my parents are respectively from. In addition, I have studied English and French at school and decided to continue my studies at University in England. Since then, I have moved to London where the streets are full of many different nationalities and I am able to use my language skills to my full potential.
It’s true that many people nowadays speak English as a single common language, however when you address them in their native language they often feel reassured and more open. They usually welcome this with a big smile and sometimes…with relief! I have been able to experience this both in my social life and professional career. Since I joined Foundation Recruitment, I have been able to use my language skills (as well as my other skills) every day. Sometimes I stop and think about how fascinating it is that from my desk in London I can reach people in every corner of the globe and speak with them easily; Russia, Dubai, France, Hungary, Italy just to name a few! And guess what the best part is? That our office is international too! I have the opportunity to interact with my colleagues who come from different parts of the world and it is interesting how our languages make us act and think in different ways but make our group nonetheless richer. As well as reporting directly to my experience here, many studies have also found that multicultural work-groups are more creative, have greater problem solving abilities and as a consequence, they are more productive. At Foundation Recruitment, the culturally diverse environment that we have enables us to contribute in our daily discussions with more innovative insights, have a better understanding of the values and the cultures of the markets we work in and ultimately, creates a team that is energetic and dynamic.
There have been times in which my mind was in complete confusion and I would mumble a sentence in two different languages or times when I would forget how to say something really simple in my mother-tongue. However, I would never give up on my languages and on working with people from different cultural backgrounds – it inspires me everyday.
What’s the new language I’d like to learn next you may ask? We all speak ‘excellence’ at Foundation Recruitment, so my focus is on mastering that.
Jennifer Greco, International Consultant, Foundation Recruitment