Mon. May 16th, 2022

 This past Tuesday, March 27, West Chester University hosted an informative seminar about how to use a second language in future endeavors. The seminar was hosted and co-sponsored by the Twardowski Career Development Center Director, Becky Ross, and Dr. Andrea Varricchio, Spanish Language and Cultures professor at WCU.

There was a panel of six advisors stationed at the front of the room addressing situations second language students might find themselves encountering in the near future. They also answered various questions submitted by students.

During the seminar, advisors seemed to be unanimous on several topics: to have a second language, to network, and accept the opportunities presented to students. Advisors made a point in particular to take advantage of the situations presented to you and learn a new language. An advisor was explaining how this could be difficult at first; but how in the end it can all be worth it.

“Everything in France made no sense to me at first, you need to understand their culture, the countries, the people, etc.,” Jeffery Dore, a non-native French speaker, said. Dore traveled to France with the company he worked for and was immediately thrown into a new language with little English assistance. He quickly absorbed the language in the ‘do or die’ situation and is now grateful for knowing not one but two languages. The entire panel went on to explain the benefits of being bilingual.

“If you speak Spanish we need you!” Jane Hersberger, a non-native Spanish speaker, said. Jobs today are hard to come by, even with a four-year degree, but having a second language under your belt makes a significant difference. When companies are looking at a student’s resume and have listed German, Spanish, French, etc. as a second-language, the application is most likely going to get a second look just because two languages are known.

The advisors also touched base on internships and how second language students can truly benefit from the experience that they can offer. This summer is quickly approaching with many internships available, as long as students know where to look. The panel suggested several ideas of how to start looking: get a Linkedin.com account (the ‘Business Facebook’), look in towns with high populations of people that speak whichever language you speak, network, and be open to new opportunities.

As America becomes a bigger “melting pot” every day, it is getting more and more difficult to communicate between all of our citizens. Large companies are realizing this and are constantly looking for people with the added benefit of being able to communicate between two different languages.

The panel of advisors left students with some fine points to to get students who speak a second language out there in these companies’ lines of vision. These points include: listing ‘Special Skills’ on a resume, right at the top, but 10 at the most and make a second language the first one, if possible. Submit two resumes, one in English and one in the second language. This gets students noticed as someone who is serious about their second language.

Advice from the advisors also included putting a face to your resume. If you are planning on applying to work overseas, tailor the resume further and show the benefits of that second language.

Advisors ended the seminar with a final note: everyone has to start somewhere so don’t get discouraged.

Nicole Bair is a fourth-year student majoring in liberal studies with minors in Spanish and Art History. She can be reached at NB777106@wcupa.edu.

 

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