By Sidra Miller
As global economies become more intertwined and businesses expand their operations overseas, the demand for bilingual employees continues to grow. Being bilingual can provide individuals with a significant competitive advantage in the job market, particularly in fields such as international business and diplomacy where the ability to communicate effectively with non-English speakers is critical. In addition to job prospects, being bilingual can also improve cognitive function and increase cultural awareness, as well as enable individuals to communicate with a wider range of people (Kreps).
In the context of STEM careers, being bilingual can be particularly advantageous. For example, it can give individuals a competitive edge when applying for jobs in global organizations, enable them to better collaborate with international colleagues, and facilitate the sharing of scientific knowledge across linguistic and cultural barriers. One way that being bilingual can be beneficial is by improving access to scientific resources (Kreps). Many scientific journals publish articles in languages other than English, and being able to read and understand these articles can broaden one's knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts. For example, if a scientist is conducting research on a topic that has been extensively studied in a non-English speaking country, being able to read and understand publications in that country's language could provide valuable insights and help the scientist to make new discoveries.
Another way that being bilingual can be advantageous in STEM careers is by enabling scientists to work on cross-cultural research projects and collaborate with international partners more effectively. In fields such as climate science, where research and policy decisions must be made on a global scale, being able to effectively communicate with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds is critical. Being bilingual can facilitate this communication and help to bridge linguistic and cultural barriers, enabling scientists to work more effectively as a team and make progress towards their research goals.
Overall, being bilingual can provide a range of benefits for individuals pursuing careers in STEM fields. From improving access to scientific resources to enabling effective cross-cultural collaboration, being bilingual can give individuals a competitive edge in a rapidly globalizing world.
Kreps, Jamie. “The Bilingual Student Advantage in STEM Learning.” Tessa International
School, 15 July 2019, tessais.org/the-bilingual-student-advantage-in-stem-