BESIG 2023 Annual Conference - Ben's Thoughts on Peter Westerhuis's Talk on Bilingualism
Updated: Nov 5
The focus of this talk was the economic benefits of bilingualism.
Bilingualism is a subject that I am always keen to hear about as it resonates with me on a personal level; raising a child in an Anglo-Chinese / Sino-British home, this has been something my wife and I have been very keen to develop in our son. Indeed, one of the first gifts we received when expecting our little one was a copy of Barbara Zurer Pearson’s Raising a Bilingual Child from fellow Distance Cert director Michelle Hunter.
Peter Started his talk with some interesting definitions of bilingualism as can be seen here:
Peter continued to talk about some true or false statements:
- Bilingualism helps you learn other languages
- Bilingualism has (Positive) health consequences
- Bilingual people are more open-minded and flexible
All of which, according to what I know, are true.
Peter highlighted the following benefits that can be seen here:
Peter went on to highlight the economic benefits that bilingualism brings such as:
· Enhanced employability
· Higher salaries
· Higher job security
· International trade options increasing between countries with one common language
I felt Peter gave a wonderful single sentence summary - "as a company you will always trade more but as an individual you will always earn more". At a company and individual level, there is always a guaranteed return on investment. The more a person learns, the more productive we will be.
This was a great talk that spoke to me on a person level but was also hugely interesting on the professional level.