English is not my first language. I’m a French speaker from Montreal, Quebec. But I’ve learned English when I was 12 as a part of a bi-linguistic program in elementary school, and since, I’ve considered myself pretty good in my second language.
Being a journalist has been my dream job since I was 10 years old, and I’ve been getting there for some years now. Last spring, I graduated from one of the best bachelor of journalism schools in Quebec (if not the best!). I’ve learned so much, but one thing that a teacher told us stayed in my mind more vividly: “If you can write both in French and in English, you will no doubt be successful.”
As an anglophile, I was already into everything English. I only read English books, listen to English music, TV shows and movies. But had I ever thought about working and writing in English? Not really. (Well, yes, of course, when I start dreaming of working at Vogue UK…!) Well, I now did.
I decided to do my minor in English language and Great British history, so I could be called a specialist in that field someday. But then, who would know I could write in English? That’s when I decided I’d blog for Yuppee. I found out about this great website via Twitter. It had so much freedom in the choice of the subjects and the form of the blog posts. It was perfect for my needs.
Even if, at the time, I only did a few blog posts (about fashion and monarchy, my favourite subjects), I can definitely say it helped me get jobs. Three, in fact. Two of them were English-speaking researcher jobs in television. I had to prove I could write and speak in English fluently enough to get the job, as for one I would have to make calls in the western part of Canada, the USA and England, and for the other I would write questions for a quiz show. I got them both because I had experience blogging online in English. The third job is a permanent blogger job for one of the biggest companies in the world, which I also got because of my bilingual portfolio.
What I can say about this, is that I’ve recommended everyone I know to do some blogging online in another language if they want to be a journalist, or work in the communications field. It builds up a great portfolio, you choose your beat so you can be a specialist in it, and you can practice your second language, as I did.
Interviewers found it very impressive that I had blogged in English, so I could only recommend it for everyone to blog in another language. I’m a great defender of the French language, but I also truly believe we need to speak English now (or at least two languages, if not more), if we want to work worldwide. And I do want to work worldwide.