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Welcome! Bienvenue! Bienvenido!

Leonicka Valcius: Welcome! Bienvenue! Bienvenido!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Welcome! Bienvenue! Bienvenido!

I had always known that speaking several languages was excellent for a resume. I did not however realize how invaluable it would be on the job.

I should have guessed as much. I currently work in the tourism industry in Toronto, one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Yet I was still surprised when I was required both French and Spanish on the same day.

The first was a man who tentativly approached the booth. As I began my sales pitch he shook his head and asked, "You speak French?" He beamed when I answered in French that I did. Apparently he had been in the city for a week and I was the first person who spoke French. I left Montreal when I was eight years old so my French is by no means perfect, but he was happy nonetheless.

I suppose in a small company word travels quickly. My manager had overheard me giving a customer the pickup time in Spanish. Next thing I knew a coworker led an entire family to me. He explained that they were visiting from Paraguay adn spoke little English. It was time for me to work my magic.

Once again my Spanish was less than stellar. I studied Spanish in highschool, but had not had to use it in over 2 years. It was better than nothing. The family seemed to understand everything I said and happily used our services.

In an increasingly globalized world, speaking different languages is an invaluable skill. Gone are the days where your native tongue was enough. I am glad I took the time to learn foreign languages and as I encounter different peoples, both at work and in the course of my daily life, I am eager to learn more.

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