The myth that learning a new language – or investing in improving an existing one – is only worthwhile for children has finally been busted, but many adults still hesitate to invest their time, energy and money into improving their language skills.
But not only can improved language skills set you apart from the competition in whatever career you are in, they can open new doors and expand your professional and personal horizons, no matter your age.
We spoke to Flavio, an EF graduate, to discuss how investing in his language skills by studying abroad at Boston did just that.
Hi Flavio, it’s a real pleasure to speak to you. Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your professional background and current work?
My name is Flávio and I’m from Brazil. I have 13 years of experience in accounting, tax, and internal audits, across different sectors and industries. I have a degree in accounting, with a specialization in accountancy management, financial management, audits, and tax.
I’m currently working as an Accounting Controller for a Brazilian company called TCM Group and manage a diverse team.
What languages do you speak and how has speaking multiple languages impacted your life and career?
I speak English, Spanish and Portuguese, my native tongue, and I am confident that knowing and speaking more languages has helped me in all aspects of my life and career.
Why did you decide to invest in your language skills and study English in Boston?
I knew improving my English was important if I wanted to open new doors in my life and to expand my horizons, both personally and professionally. And I knew that the most fun and effective way to do this would be to study abroad.
It had always been my dream to visit the US, and so I chose Boston because I knew it would give me that authentic experience, and, as it’s a big university city and home to renowned institutions such as MIT and Harvard, I knew it would also give me that academic edge. The academic atmosphere in the city was really contagious and I felt excited to learn each day.
Beyond the academics, Boston turned out to be an amazing city with tons of museums, public parks and squares to visit and enjoy, as well as lots of sports, great architecture and a lot of urban buzz.
Have your improved language skills helped you progress in your career or in life?
Absolutely. Investing in myself in this way changed my life in so many ways. I was able to improve the way I interact socially with a wide range of people from different cultures and backgrounds – I am now as confident speaking to as CEO as I am to a doorman.
It has also helped me expand my professional network and to understand how business is conducted abroad. It’s even inspired me to look for career opportunities abroad – something I would not have had the confidence to do before.
My experience in Boston also inspired me to travel more – this has increased my knowledge of the world and helped me understand myself better – and has given me a ton of incredible, memorable experiences.
What impact has travel had on making you the person you are today?
I cannot overstate the impact – living abroad and investing in myself this way has had a profound impact on me as a professional and as a person. I am more open and ambitious as a result and know that it has changed the course of the rest of my life.
How have you maintained your English skills since you left Boston?
I often say that studying at EF Boston was just the beginning. Since my EF trip, I have been practicing my English with teachers as well as whenever I am online. I also use my English in my everyday work and in maintaining my networks and friendships abroad. I also try to return to the US each year and get a lot of practice then as well.
Thanks a lot for chatting to us, Flavio, and for sharing your experience of investing in your language skills by studying abroad.