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6 Ways to Use Your Language Skills to Move Abroad

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Long story short, you can use a language to move abroad by teaching it, by using it for work (in non-teaching jobs), and by showing you can integrate into the society you are moving into.

Below are 6 ways on how you can use your language skills to move abroad.

6 Ways to Use Your Language Skills to Move Abroad

1. Teaching English Abroad

Native speaker of English? The world is wide open.

If you are a native speaker of English with a citizenship from the following 7 countries, you may have a much easier time getting a work visa to teach English in many countries that are always on the lookout for native English teachers.

  1. United States 🇺🇸
  2. Canada 🇨🇦
  3. Australia 🇦🇺
  4. New Zealand 🇳🇿
  5. United Kingdom 🇬🇧
  6. Ireland 🇮🇪
  7. South Africa 🇿🇦

Obviously, there are other countries with English as their official language, however many educational institutions in countries like China 🇨🇳, Japan 🇯🇵, and South Korea 🇰🇷 typically have a requirement that prospective English teachers are hired from the above countries. (Please don't ask me why, I'm just a messenger.)

If you don't hold a citizenship from these 7 countries, you still stand a chance to be employed as an English teacher abroad, though you may have to look harder. If it is difficult to find an employment in public schools, you can try private learning centers instead.

Also, depending on the institution, you may or may not need an English teaching certificate or experience to get the job.

2. Teaching Other Languages

Fret not—English is not the only language taught around the world!

If you speak a language aside from English at a native or near-native level, you may have a chance to teach it in educational institutions abroad.

These educational institutions can be public universities and colleges, or private learning centers.

Of course, the more in demand the language is, the better chance you will have in getting a teaching job abroad.

Here are the most popularly-learned languages in countries around the world:

Illustration by Visual Capitalist (CC BY-SA 4.0)

If the language you speak isn't globally popular, it might be in neighboring countries.

For example, Indonesian 🇮🇩 isn't a very popular language to learn globally, but there are demands for it in neighboring countries like Australia 🇦🇺 and New Zealand 🇳🇿.

3. Working as a Translator

Good news for those who speaks a language other than English: It is easier to become a translator abroad.

Because English is a language that is widely used around the world (meaning there are English speakers in almost every country), the demand for English translators doesn't appear to be very high.

So if you speak other languages well, you can obtain a translator certification in that language, and use it to find a job overseas as a translator.

Examples of places you can work in:

  • Corporations with multinational operations
  • Lawyer offices
  • Immigration offices
  • Government or diplomat offices

4. Working as a Customer Service Associate

There is also demand for Customer Service Associates who speak a language other than English, and it is possible to move abroad if the company you want to work for has corporate offices in another country.

Unlike being a translator, there is usually no certification needed, but you do have to demonstrate traits and skills that are befitting for a good Customer Service Associate.

You might not want to remain as a Customer Service Associate throughout the rest of your career, but if moving abroad is something you really want to do, this position can be a good starting point and a good stepping stone to get your foot in the country you are interested in, and aim for something more from there.

5. Using Your Language Test Results

Language is an important aspect of moving abroad.

Governments around the world acknowledge this, as it is a crucial component to integrating with a country’s society. It also makes it easier to study there or get a job.

Providing language test results is often part of the process of getting a visa to move abroad. For example:

  • If your native language is Polish 🇵🇱 and you would like to be on a temporary work visa in Australia 🇦🇺, you will have to complete a standardized English test, which will form part of your visa application.

  • The South Korean 🇰🇷 government requires a temporary visa holder to pass a Korean test language examination if they are applying to become a permanent resident.

  • The Canadian 🇨🇦 government provides extra points for those who pass both English and French language exams in some of their point-based permanent residency programs.

Long story short, learning the official language(s) of your destination country will make it easier for you to move there.

It will be easier for you to:

  • Keep up with the latest immigration policies and news
  • Make connections with locals to find opportunities
  • Get a job you want
  • Find and maintain local friendships
  • and more

6. Researching Visa Information Not in English

Knowing languages opens up doors.

Knowing the official language(s) of the country that you are planning to move to can greatly help you in doing your own independent research on visa requirements, because depending on your destination country, the latest information about immigration might not be in English.

Say you’re from the United States and you dream of moving to France 🇫🇷 to study or to work, but you don’t really speak French. Here are a few things that will happen:

  • Since all official, government information on the immigration process is in French, it will be harder to look up updated information about immigration from the government or from the French media.

  • You’re also going to find it more difficult to integrate with the French society.

  • You won't fully understand French culture and expectations, in the workplace or in the society.

  • If you want to work there, you have to find an employment opportunity that is specifically looking for an English speaker or an American citizen.

All of these would be so much easier if you are comfortable with using French.

If you are from another Francophone country, such as Senegal 🇸🇳 for example, and you speak French at a native level, you would have the advantage of language by default that you can leverage if you want to move to France.

The good news is, like wealth, the advantage of language is something you can unlock.

But you do have to put the time and effort into learning it.

Want to Move Abroad?

Learn about the cons of moving abroad, and how to get a visa if you think moving is right for you. More about this here.