By Jonay Suárez, Head of Marketing at Wibbu.
Perhaps you think, like many people, that tourists who visit your country should be able to speak your language. That it shouldn’t be the other way around.
Perhaps you think that knowing a foreign language is useful, but not essential.
And it’s true. You can get through life without knowing a foreign language, and it is good for tourists to know some of the local language when they travel.
But we also believe that everyone has something to share. A lot to share, in fact.
It’s in that sharing where the depth of human interaction resides. Sharing who we are, what we know, what we don’t know. Sharing with strangers. Learning from others, and allowing others to learn from us.
To achieve this, we need to communicate through language. With each new language that we learn, we create a link in the chain that connects us to new people. This, in turn, enriches our lives and the lives of others; it forms the building blocks of a better world.
This is what happened to Dean, our CEO. One afternoon, while crossing a bridge over the River Thames, he heard a policeman shouting for someone who spoke Spanish. There had been a traffic accident and one of the individuals involved couldn’t speak English. Dean approached the crash site and spoke with the shaken up boy who had luckily escaped with some a couple of scratches. He was a young guy from Zaragoza. Dean made a number of phone calls on his behalf, and all the problems were resolved.
Or Bruno Serato, an Italian who arrived in the US in 1980 with no money and no knowledge of the English language. Today, Bruno is the proud owner of a well-known restaurant that is frequented by A-list celebrities. He also runs an NGO which distributes food to poor children every day.
Dean and Bruno are two examples of what we can achieve when we know other languages.
Knowing more than one language opens up many doors in your professional life. It improves your career. It helps you find tourist spots when you travel. It offers you an entry point to other people and other cultures.
But above all, knowing languages gives you power. Power to share with others and to become a better person.