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March 29, 2016
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Americas: Planning Meetings Abroad? Learn a Bit of Local Language


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When I traveled to South America for the first time in my professional career last year, I realized just how powerful language is. Unlike in much of Europe and the Caribbean, where many know English as a second language, I found that even though I was in a large metropolitan and business-centric area, the second language for the Portuguese-speaking population was more likely to be Spanish than English.

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Photo by Freeimages.com/Quill

Now, I certainly do not expect people in non–English-speaking countries to speak English. After all, I have not studied a second language since college. And, despite my parents’ attempt at persuading me to study Spanish, I chose French. I learned promptly in my professional travels that although it is a beautiful language, French is not the mostly globally utilized tongue. I have since purchased study materials for Spanish lessons; however, devoting time to a task I may not use daily has not moved higher up on my to-do list.

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