Being originally from the Philippines where there are more than 100 dialects, Tagalog being the national language, I consider myself very lucky that English is the medium of instruction in our schools. I had that benefit ever since I started kindergarten. We also have required Spanish classes in high school and in the university.
Having learned English has afforded me the chance to work abroad after a few years of working in the Philippines. I first got employed in Zambia, then in Quebec where I was exposed to French, after which I moved on to Saskatchewan, an English speaking Canadian province. Such worldwide employments have given me the opportunity to earn good income and lend financial help to my family back home. Now I am spending my retirement in Brazil where I enjoy learning another beautiful language, Portuguese.
During such employment, I had the opportunity to do some traveling. Knowing English made my holidays more enjoyable and memorable. I got the chance to meet wonderful people from all over the world. Once in Mexico, I was able to help some Americans buy trinkets and souvenirs at good prices. Thanks to my Spanish!!!
Businessmen, investors or people who like to immigrate to another country would profit well by learning the language of that country they want to get into. Take for example BRIC, the acronym for the emerging markets Brazil, Russia, India and China. These four countries have their respective and totally unique language. Learning any or all these languages will pave the way to these greener pastures that are waiting to be explored.
When I moved here in Brazil, I did not speak any Portuguese. However my background in Spanish made it a bit easier for me. By showing the effort to speak their language, I got immediate acceptance from the locals. Instantly, I felt I was one of them. I knew I belong!
Most importantly, there is that intangible reward that I get from learning another language. It is the sense of accomplishment in being able to communicate with somebody in his language. I feel that inner pride that is not only gratifying and fulfilling, it is priceless!