Language Study

I find the idea of having to complete my education in a foreign language slightly daunting. I was once given a teach-yourself Russian course in Italian, and I used it for a few months. No doubt it exercised unusual parts of my brain, but I didn’t learn much Russian.

But for many it is a matter of routine. One of my students, for example, has entered herself for a three-year course of self study leading to a qualification in investment banking. The course is internationally recognised, and consists of three modules, for want of a better word, each of which concludes with a lengthy examination (my student told me from memory that the first examination lasts six hours).

Looks great. Unfortunately, there’s no need to go to New York as part of the course. Everything is done at a distance, and through accredited test centres.

But the examination is conducted in English. I had another student last year who was working on an eMBA in Beijing, and even on that exclusively Chinese course there were segments in Oxford (at the Said Business School) and a fair bit of required reading in English.

And it’s not only English. I had an American friend in Rome many years ago who was studying German so that he could go to Berlin and study Russian. He now lives in Frankfurt and works for the German tax office. Oh, and he’s married to a Russian woman.

The list goes on. I like to think that the net effect of all these international courses in English (or in other languages) is that the world is getting a bit smarter all the time. Smarter, or perhaps just more confused. But it amounts to the same thing.