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Compiled by Elizabeth Benu,

Having bilingual or multilingual capabilities among your peers makes them green with envy. For some learning a foreign language is just a compulsory unit in college and for some they do it as an interest.

The popularity of languages change over a period of time but this still maximizes job opportunities.

That said, here is the list.

1. French
French has the privilege of bearing the title of being the only language taught in every nation. How many times have you come across words such as Bonjour or Bon Appetite?

French sells your CV  because it opens opportunities in countries such as Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and North and sub-Saharan Africa. It also gives you an advantage when applying for jobs in NGO’s such as The UN, Save the Children and Oxfam, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts

2. Spanish
Spanish has become one of the most sought after languages of the world mainly spoken in the Latin American countries. Bilingual speakers earn high paid jobs in translations and interpretations.

Internationally, people who speak Spanish often have opportunities to work in trade or business fields. Other options include diplomacy, interpretation, and security applications.

ILRI, The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) and The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) are examples of NGO’s that hire Spanish speakers.

3. German
Knowledge of German increases your job opportunities with companies such as Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Kenya.

Developments in media, information and communication technology require multilingual communicators. Knowledge of German therefore offers you extended access to information.

For those interested in the tourism industry this would be a good language.

4. Chinese
Despite Chinese being one of the toughest languages, people invest their time to learn it.

The Chinese market is the biggest growing market even in this economic downturn. Expertise in Chinese has grown increasingly important to the overall global economy and many business owners are looking to break into this international market.

With the fast growing market that would be your first reason to learn it and get great opportunities. in companies such as Sino Africa Future, a Chinese advisory firm.

5. Portuguese
Portuguese is spoken in Europe (Portugal and Portuguese islands), in Africa (Angola, Moçambique, Guiné-Bissau, São Tomé e Príncipe), in Asia (East Timor, Macau, Goa) and in South America (Brazil).

If you are looking for an opportunity in the above countries, then start learning Portuguese.

6. Arabic
Have you been looking for an opportunity in the Middle East?

Then Arabic is the language you need to learn. It may not be simple but it offers great opportunities for you and avoids any communication difficulties while working there. African Development Solutions (ADESO) and the IRC are some NGO’s you can work for with knowledge of Arabic.

7. Japanese
Japanese bags the credit of being marked as one of the most spoken languages of the world. Japanese will prepare you for a future career in global business.

This language is said to build a strong foundation for graduate work in a range of fields such as Medicine, Political Theory, and Anthropology.

8. Russian
In today’s world Russian is growing as one of the most learnt languages for people looking interested in commerce, trade and other global ventures.

Russian would be a good bet for those wishing to work with the United Nations or in Eastern Europe.

9. Korean
LG, Hyundai, Samsung are the top organizations in Kenya that hail from Korea. If you are eyeing an opportunity with them it’s best if you start learning Korean.

If you also belong to the disciplines of science and technology this would be the perfect foreign language for you.

English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Kiswahili and Portuguese are official African Union languages while at the same time; the first four languages  plus Chinese and Russian  are official UN languages.

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