Pitch a language course abroad to your boss (like a boss)

Career August 28, 2014

Have you spotted a language course abroad that would fit perfectly with your job? You and your employers will gain much more than just language skills from your experience immersed in another culture.


Some countries have the right to a training holiday enshrined in national law. The German Bildungsurlaub and the French droit individuel à la formation, or compte personnel de formation from 2015 on, can be used to study a language in immersion. But even if your right to training isn’t official, here are some rock-solid arguments you can make about the benefits of a language study stay abroad:

“It’s inexpensive personal development”

Your personal development should be important for your employers. Sending you to live in another culture, meet new people and speak another language will make a much more profound positive difference to you than the typical team-building exercises or staff training. Check out our article from earlier this year about the soft skills that you will develop while learning a language in cultural immersion.

“I will still be working”

Jean-Pierre Conus, Vice President of INNSECO SA, recently sent a new member of staff for a four-week Portuguese course in Lisbon and says “it is possible nowadays to have a member of staff studying abroad part-time for a few weeks, keeping in touch with the office and doing some work once you get internet”. Just because you are not in the office does not mean you cannot work.

“It will make the company more competitive”

Study after study has shown that language skills increase competitiveness on both a local and international level. The EU, in particular, is a big believer in language skills for European businesses.

Or you can try the scary flipside…

“Our rivals are doing it”

Language courses for professionals are a rapidly growing area of study abroad. Specialist schools are booming. Do you want your competition to access markets that are unavailable to you?

“International networking”

Language courses for business learners are places where you will meet people from a wide variety of businesses, leading to some nice serendipitous moments. Check out our staff reports from business language schools in the UK here.

“It will improve the company’s cultural fluency”

You will gain insights from learning in cultural immersion that are simply not available if you learn a language at home. Sure, a language course at your office can teach you abstractly about local traditions or how to address people, but that is nothing like as valuable as living in that culture and experiencing it first-hand.

“It will make me happy”

A happy employee is a productive employee according to research from Warwick University. Investing in a language course gives you skills that will improve your work and home life, therefore increasing happiness and productivity.

“It’s really easy to organize”

That’s what we’re here for. At ESL – Language Studies Abroad we have helped thousands of individuals learn a language for business; we are here before, during and after your trip to ensure everything goes well.

“It will make me much more employable…”

Actually, maybe you shouldn’t mention that to your boss! But it’s true. Even in a notoriously monolingual business culture like that in the USA, Harvard researchers have shown that speaking foreign languages increases your earnings.

Check out business courses

Images: Manager by Ronald Repolona, via CC,
By Alex Hammond

What do you think?