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Arizona State University student Isabella Jaber shows that learning a language doesn’t just help get you a job, but can elevate your role in a workplace and help you achieve a number of goals.
Jaber, a student in the School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC), works at American Express as a business Centurion relations manager, where she manages, “a direct portfolio of about 40 to 60 of the company’s most valued clients."
"Within that, I do personal, business travel – I do any type of concierge’s request and all of their financial servicing with the company,” Jaber said.
While a huge responsibility, Jaber has used her skills in business and language to not only support her clients, but also her coworkers at American Express. As the only bilingual person in her department, her Spanish language skills have allowed her to translate for clients in Peru, Mexico, Chile and Spain.
“The travel and international presence that’s done in our work on a daily basis, [being bilingual] has really come in handy with that,” Jaber said. “Spanish has been an everyday part of my role since I started.”
Jaber, who is half Hispanic and half Lebanese, also speaks Arabic, which she has used more to relate to clients who are multilingual themselves. She also used Spanish and Arabic at her previous job with Bank of America.
While she grew up speaking Spanish, Jaber saw the benefit of studying it in a more formal setting. She learned how to adapt her skills to a professional sphere through a major in Spanish linguistics, also taking classes through the SILC's heritage program. She’ll be graduating this May.
“I knew with my goals of wanting to eventually study global management and work internationally, I wanted to be as proficient in Spanish as I am in English – to have that same level of articulation and proficiency overall,” Jaber said.
“As far as the Arabic goes, I, being half Lebanese, I was never really taught Arabic or anything about the culture. So Arabic studies, that’s what really drove me to SILC, I had this strong passion of wanting to learn more about that world and speak the language too, have that ability to communicate,” Jaber said.
Jaber appreciates having language skills in her personal life as well: “on a day to day basis, it has really opened my mind to how I communicate with people.”
“I do love to travel a lot,” she said, “it’s that much more motivating because I know I can go out there into the cities and learn about the culture, what it has to offer. That’s my passion, learning other cultures and traveling the world.”