Multi-lingual Abilities in Europe

After working with my coworkers for the couple months that I’ve been in Spain, there are a few that I’ve been able to get to know fairly well. Several times the idea of language has come up in conversation and especially the part about how it is so common for Europeans to speak multiple languages. Compared with the United States this is a world of difference. While it is true that English is often the universal language and having English as your first language has many advantages, learning another language gives you the opportunity to travel and work in another culture. One of the other interns in my office was born in China but has lived in Barcelona for the majority of his life. As a result of all this he speaks Spanish, Catalan, English, Mandarin, and another Chinese dialect specific to the region where his family was originally from. Finding someone like this is the US would be nearly impossible while in Europe its not exactly unheard of. One day I even asked him what language he thinks in and the answer wasn’t something he had really ever thought about before or realized. With this level of fluency and proficiency in multiple languages I feel like he definitely has a lot more opportunities to pursue a desired career just because of the larger number of possible locations to work. I think language programs in schools today are improving and becoming more popular but still have a long way to go to come close to the level of some of the European nations.