Saudi Arabia has the biggest concentration of Filipino migrant workers in the world. While Filipinos are renowned for their English language proficiency — thus leading the global call center industry — not many are well-equipped with Arabic language. For one, there is barely any formal training on the language before deployment and the assumption that English is the likely medium of communication.
But even if Arabic is not a required skill in workplace, here are the benefits of learning the language.
1. Expand your credentials in the Arab world. Arabic is not only spoken in Saudi Arabia, it is also the official language in more than a dozen countries. In fact it is the fifth most spoken language in the world with over 220 speakers. So if you wish to build a career in the Middle East, say work in Qatar or UAE after your contract ends in Saudi Arabia, Arabic language know-how comes in handy.
2. Make more friends. Your network could open up to Arab people who barely speak any foreign language. You then get to learn more of the country’s culture, as well as convey the Filipino values, concerns and challenges in their country. You also earn respect as Arab people appreciate your effort to connect with them using their language.
3. New careers. Not only you’ll be more qualified to the job, more job prospects can come your way. Interpreter, customer service officer, and other jobs that require interaction with Arab-speaking people occasionally or frequently.
4. You don’t get fooled while shopping. When you’re in the souk doing shoppig for your daily necessities or bargain hunting for pasalubong or souvenirs, you now have the haggling power to impress shopkeepers who may bump prices to non-Arab speakers.
5. Less likely you’ll get lost on the road. When you’re on the road and road signs are only in Arabic, learning the alphabet helps. But if not, you can now ask people nearby for directions more confidently.
6. You’ll impress your friends. Admit it, you get extra credit for your new-found skill such as learning an exotic language such as Arabic. You become a more reliable buddy and could get invites (and freebies) to shopping sprees, dine outs just because you have something they don’t have yet.
It’s about time to learn the Arabic language, more than just those infamous swear words.