Expats struggle to learn foreign languages

Expats struggle to learn foreign languages

Expats struggle to learn foreign languages

New research shows that the biggest hurdle for those who have moved abroad because of work is learning the local language. More than 60 per cent of senior managers who were asked to take part in the survey said that they felt the largest obstacle to an expat fulfilling an assignment was not having a solid knowledge of the language. More than half agreed that linguistic skills were essential when doing business in another country.

However, the study, conducted by language company Rosetta Stone and the Forum for Expatriate Management, found that even though it was considered vital, only 37 per cent of those surveyed said their company offered language training in the expat package.

According to the research, many companies felt that foreign language training was unnecessary, too time consuming and too expensive.

Rosetta Stone spokeswoman, Judy Verses, said relocating an expat and their family to another country cost around $400,000 and therefore it is essential that they are given the necessary training to succeed in their role which includes knowledge of the local language.

Because of the rise of China to the position of the world’s second biggest economy and largest manufacturer, it was not surprising to find that Mandarin was the most requested language for training. Other languages which are also popular with those moving abroad for business include Portuguese, Spanish, German and French.

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