Meet Sophie—Senior Consultant, Security Risk Consulting at Control Risks.
It goes a really long way when I can show clients that I can speak their language and have taken the time to learn Arabic.
Grew Up In: Cincinnati, Ohio
College & Majors/Minors:
- The Ohio State University (BA) – Arabic, Middle Eastern Studies
- The Johns Hopkins Schools of International Studies (SAIS) (MA) – International Economics and International Political Economy
Study Abroad: Amman, Jordan
How do you use your language skills in you work/career?
The majority of my work is conducted in English, but because I am based in the Middle East many of my clients are native Arabic speakers. It goes a really long way when I can show clients that I can speak their language and have taken the time to learn Arabic—it’s a difficult language to learn! It helps to build relationships and trust with clients and colleagues.
What is the biggest misconception Americans have about learning languages?
I think it can be difficult to understand why it is important to learn a second language because the majority of the world speaks English. If you intend to work in the U.S., there is even less incentive, however, learning a second language opens so many doors and opportunities one might not even know existed. It can open one up to a number of job opportunities and speaking a second language may, in fact, help secure a job.
Additionally, learning a second language is not just about being able to speak that language. It helps one learn about other cultures, communities and history, and probably make new friends along the way.
Do you have an interesting, moving, or humorous anecdote featuring your language skills to share?
My best anecdotes are when I do not mention that I can speak or understand Arabic when in meetings or social settings. It is always a fun shock when I agree with what is being said even though the conversation has been in Arabic. It always takes everyone a minute to realize how I could have understood what they said!
Then tell us how you put your language skills to work @LangConnectsFdn on social media.