Speaking a second (or third) language can increase your marketability. This is because the United States has become more culturally diverse than ever before. Being bilingual or multilingual is especially important as a travel health professional: depending on where you’re placed, you must communicate treatment plans to patients who may not speak fluent English.
Though Spanish is the most common foreign language in the U.S., you can benefit from learning many others, such as French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Polish. Choose the foreign language that you feel will be most useful in your professional career. Then, get ready to study, practice and memorize new words and phrases. Here’s how you can get started.
Great ways to become bilingual or multilingual
With software, smartphone apps and other online resources, you have more educational choices than ever before when learning a new language. Check out the following:
- Language-learning software. Using a specially designed software program is one of the best ways to learn a new language quickly. This is because you’ll get experience with the new language on a few different levels: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Among the highest-rated programs for being user-friendly and effective are Rosetta Stone®, Transparent Language® and Fluenz.
- Online programs. The Internet abounds with sites that require a paid subscription for access to language-learning tools. These include Babbel, Rocket Languages and Tell Me More®. Living Language is an online site that also gives you access to a live online classroom, complete with instructor and classmates.
- Smartphone apps. Though not as effective as language software or online subscriptions, apps can be a great free way to boost your exposure to a new language. Popular apps include Duolingo (for Android or Apple), Memrise (for Apple), busuu (for Apple), Google Translate (for Android) and iHandy Translator (for Apple). Depending on the language you want to learn, you may also be able to find apps specific to that language. To learn more, visit the App Store or Google Play.
- Classes or adult education programs. Many colleges or community adult education programs offer short language classes you can take. They often last for a few weeks (or a semester, in the case of college courses) and give you the benefit of working with an instructor and classmates. The most common offerings you’ll find include Spanish and French, but you may be surprised to find classes for other languages brought about by popular demand.
- Library resources. Your public library may offer free courses for a variety of different languages, either online or with DVDs. Check with your local library to learn more.
- Internet radio. Once your learning is underway, it can help to immerse yourself in the language to get a feel for common phrases and to challenge yourself. Search online for Internet radio stations in the language of your choosing.
- Similar to Internet radio, a foreign language podcast will allow you to experience the foreign language you’re learning as it is spoken by natives to that culture. Unlike radio broadcasts, podcasts let you go back and listen again if there’s something you missed.
- Online newspapers. Why not read your daily news in another language? This can be a great way to test your new language skills.
- Subtitled movies. Rent a foreign movie with English subtitles to further experience the native pop culture.
Practice makes perfect
Once you’ve chosen your preferred learning strategy, be prepared to spend some time each day studying the language. Complete a new syllabus each day during your lunch break, for example, or plan to learn 10 new vocabulary words each night while dinner is in the oven. By scheduling time to learn, you will be more likely to complete your lesson each day.
Put your new language skills to the test with your next travel position
If you’re looking for your next placement, try MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We place travel pharmacists, nurses and allied health professionals in positions across the country. To learn more, contact one of our recruiters today.