Elizabeth Mack, Founder

Bright Opportunities Amidst Global Chaos

How Language Learning Can Help You Level-up in the New Covid-19 Economy and beyond!

In this uber turbulent global environment, with our lives taking unprecedented turns at a rate hardly fathomable, life is (mind-numbingly) swiftly moving…. online. With schools and public and private institutions closing for the rest of the semester if not longer, and with many employment models (#WFH #telecommute #orderTPtoo! ) upending our daily lives, not to mention the fear inspired by markets and the media, raise your (digital, germ-free) hand if you could use some good news.

Oui, the C02 emission rates over Italy and China, for one, as the earth takes a giant inhale, certainly deserve applause (!), but we’re thinking in the realm of online language learning.
Freestyle has been hard at work with a variety of online models (think blended online, ‘flipped’ and virtual classrooms, new Learning Management Systems, etc.) for 5+ years, with successful outcomes and happy learners – because we figured out after not insignificant trial and error how to create community online, the magic that makes it all work at Freestyle.

Voila, enter stage left Freestyle’s Hybrid model (hint: our online curriculum platform meets our robust face-to-face virtual classroom…)!
While many learning institutions have been continually adapting with and through the internet for 21st c. changes, we know that this recent warp-speed eruption in online gatherings and communities expressing the desire to learn and to connect can inspire further alternative, creative solutions – daily ! Our opportunities are restrained by how we react and restructure around this ordeal (… and sometimes our wifi / bandwidth / connection power and kids and distractions at home!) 

To learn WHY you should invest the time and money to learn languages online and how you can benefit to create a more mighty 21’st century YOU…read on! 

… When we’re not washing our hands after a short trip out, we’re at home practicing social distancing, a phenomenon offering many people a surplus of free time with which to take advantage of myriad new online opportunities.

Add the desire, and the very real human need to connect, to the undeniable benefits of language learning and you could:

OPPORTUNITY #1: Give a HUGE boost to your competitive edge

1% of Americans speak another language*; 20% of jobs are international

*learned at school . Bridge that Gap!

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has proved one thing: the interconnectedness of humans sharing one planet.

With employment uncertain and an economic recession becoming more certain, NOW is the time to ramp up your skill set. Stand out in a crowded field of resumes and cover letters to show potential employers that you have what it takes to function in an increasingly diverse world. It’s no wonder that CNN Money listed multilingual / bilingual as THE hottest job skill a few years ago – and it’s only becoming more important, by the day. 
FUN FACT! The top 30 active languages have at least 30 million speakers each (Mandarin Chinese: > 1 billion; Spanish: 420 million; French: 130 million; Italian: 61 million).

Increasingly, organizations seek bilinguals for not only the potential benefits to reach an increasing number of customers (=sales) around the world but also because taking the time, initiative and investment to learn another language shows outstanding drive and motivation. Add to that the cognitive benefits that make bilinguals more                desirable employees from decision making to multi-tasking, the list goes on.

OPPORTUNITY #2: Earn a pay raise!

With increased revenue for companies who hire bilingual speakers, it goes without saying that these employees get paid a premium. On average bilingual speakers can expect to earn between 5-20% and even 30%! more than ‘monolinguals’.
Consider, for example,Indeed’s salary tool which illustrates that translation/ multilingual jobs pay more per hour than the average. In fact, locally, the average salary for a Translator is $26.99 per hour in Austin, TX – 38% above the national average. Freestyle’s advanced Spanish learners / speakers (Becky Chambers we’re looking at you…) could definitely do this as a main job or side hustle!

Speaking of: side hustlfrom home with your foreign language skills anybody? Oui, s’il vous plaît! 

OPPORTUNITY #3: Bridge the Cultural Divide – LANGUACULTURE

Culture is often referred to as the 5th Skill (after reading, writing, listening, speaking) in language-learning circles. As there is no language without culture or true cultural integration without language, a language helps to understand the way that people think, even highlighting how an entire culture functions and behaves.  
Take the story of our inspiration, Nelson Mandela, who learned Afrikaans during his long years imprisoned in order to negotiate with the oppressor / enemy; his doing so is credited with the ability to ultimately end Apartheid. He made it widely known that he believed the key to discussion, negotiation and meaning lies in the ability to understand how an entire society thinks, and only through learning their language and culture can that key be accessed.

With our ongoing mission to connect people through language, we’re pretty psyched (is that bad to admit in this nerve-wracking time?!) to bring our communicative model 100% online.

Experience life more richly, and connect more deeply through the compassion and empathy language / culture brings along the way. FLC believes as Nelson Mandela did that Language is 100% about connecting people.

Language learning tips / resources to widen your horizons: consume cultural content!
Learn new words & phrases daily (with audio and examples!) easily with our Phrase of the day accounts:
Spanish phrase of the day: Facebook, Instagram

Italian phrase of the day: Facebook, Instagram

French phrase of the day: Facebook,Instagram 

Media consumed in other countries reflects the shared values, themes, and ideas of that community – in other words, culture! Beyond just entertainment, movies offer cultural insight and are a great learning opportunity for those who are looking to add new plots, styles, and storylines to their watch-later lists.
Foreign Movies on Netflix
Read: Embracing Subtitles on the Road to Fluency! 

Oui – learning the slang, everyday language, learning to let the language wash over you, even learning to learn the skill of listening comprehension – this comes with time. (Psst… Freestyle’s community can’t wait to newly take advantage of the Netflix Party extension!)

OPPORTUNITY #4: Travel, Learn the Language, Expatriate, repeat…

In our connected world, it may not be easier than ever to travel across the globe today but this current climate will lift and companies with an international outlook will see you and your newly outfitted skills as the person to send abroad (or attend the international online meetings for now)!   

Now is the time to explore the financial and lifestyle benefits of an expat life! 

Thanks to your language and cultural training, you’ll find yourself in a completely different environment and culture, ready to easily adapt.

Say adios to Culture shock! No matter what corner of the globe you’re exploring, going somewhere you already know the native language takes much of the stress out while allowing for the richest experiences, not to mention possible career pinnacles!

Think about how much easier it will be to navigate public transportation, order dinner and meet new people as you now understand social etiquette and local customs. And understanding and contributing to your organization’s goals, in that language? 

OPPORTUNITY #5: Open up a new world of job opportunities

While any forward-thinking international company would be eager to add an outstanding bilingual candidate to their team, a growing number of companies list bilingualism as a requirement.

Requirement or not, there can be no doubt that fluency in a foreign language remains a prized skill across nearly all sectors: international relations, consulting, tech, customer service, marketing, healthcare and hospitality, education, among others…and Freestyle, as an established and proven model for adult learners wants you to know, it’s never too late! Our brains love language, it’s what humans are wired to do!
Consider this : “Just because English is the world’s lingua franca doesn’t mean you’re going to beat out local talent if you aren’t fluent in a local language. Unless there’s a severe skills shortage, such as software engineers, HR officers will always favor candidates who they think will integrate into existing teams easily.”
With a growth mindset and myriad of online learning opportunities, the world is truly our oyster (ahh, idiomatic expressions, another cultural key to the language!)
We didn’t ask for this mayhem, but as a community of passionate language learners and teachers, we believe we have enormous opportunities in how we respond to it!