Social work involves working with varied areas such as disadvantage, adoption, fostering, disabilities, mental health, probation, refugees and asylum seekers, substance abuse and the elderly. The profile of people in these areas has changed vastly in the last couple of decades with foreign-born people being represented in these target groups.
Working with foreign adoptions, asylum seekers and refugees, or foreign-born people who face disadvantages or addictions would greatly benefit from language skills and cultural awareness. Social workers build relationships and work with cases, hence language skills will help to create more meaningful connections with people.
Probation services or mental health services also come across people with poor or no English, having language skills to work with those in need of support will be of great benefit. Some of your colleagues will also be non-English speakers making the field rather multilingual.
Stress and mental health issues occur everywhere, but responses to treat them vary. Psychologists who work abroad will learn new methods of therapy, ways to listen and communicate, and ways to treat psychological issues and disorders. Experience working abroad will be a valuable professional benefit.
Psychologists can work in academia, which means working anywhere in the world where an interesting post comes up. Sports psychologists, organisational psychologists, motivational psychologists or environmental psychologists can work anywhere in the world and learn from working abroad. Indeed, anywhere there are humans there is human psychology, making the field very international.
Psychology can also be used in learning languages. The psychology of how to learn languages best is an interesting combination. Learning a language has practical and cognitive benefits, for example bilinguals have been shown to have a greater memory capacity than monolinguals. For those really interested in the area, psycholinguists study the interrelation between linguistic factors and psychological aspects.
The profile of our children in Ireland now includes children from many different backgrounds and nationalities. Being able to fully connect with the child, respect her identity and understand her culture benefits greatly from having language and cultural awareness skills.
Early education is the time when a child forms their identity and acquires a vast amount of skills, which is when sensitive and appropriate approach to bilingual children will assist them to build a good foundation for their bilingual identity. For anyone with a native language other than English there is an opportunity to support children in acquiring a language or maintaining their home language.
You might also combine childcare with languages by working abroad as a nanny. You will learn and need good language skills, especially if your duties include tasks such as helping children with homework.