Does it ever feel like the available jobs require languages you don’t speak?

Just after becoming a dive instructor I struggled to find my first employment.

Speaking German was one of the main reasons I got my first gig for a large dive shop in Cairns, Australia.

After working in Australia I applied for a job in Indonesia. The position was 70% marketing manager and 30% Cruise Director on a liveaboard.

It was a requirement to speak German and English to start. I agreed to learn the local language to be able to communicate with the local crew.

However, without an absolute impressive CV I would have never got that job I was dreaming of because the competition was tough.

On top of that I did not have any personal connections in this area.

Close-up of the definition of the word “focus” in a French dictionary
Photo by Romain Vignes from Unsplash

I can tell you the following best practices shown here work like a charm.

Read how you can get started in three steps.

1. Focus on language content that is relevant to you

In our case, this a definitely everything that is scuba diving related.

I use self-made flip cards. Take a small piece of paper and write the word of the new language on the front side.

Write the word of your mother tongue on the back side of the paper.

I hang these papers on the boat, in the dive shop etc.. Optimally to a place that is related to the word. Means if I learn the word compressor I stick the flip card to the compressor.

Also, just hang waterproof tags to your dive equipment. New word on one side and mother tongue on the other.

Photo by Andreas Ott

There are really tough words you simply would not remember even after days. In this case, use your own drawing.

Take a new flip card. Draw a short story or an image of that particular word.

Story drawing works miracles.

2. Choose a relevant language

The demand for particular languages varies on where you want to work.

The nations with the desire to dive and the disposable money to spend on scuba diving are France, Germany and Spain.

This is how it seems to me after looking at thousands of job offers. Russian is also on the raise.

No matter where you live you very likely find some German or French speaking people around you to practice with. Spanish could be a bit more tricky but in times of Internet, it can not be hard to find someone.

Japanese and Chinese are definitely sought after in scuba diving. From my perspective just a totally different level of difficulty.

If you are a couple you can cover quite a range of languages together which makes you even more employable.

3. Fit your training into your daily routine

Learn small amounts very often to keep it simple.

A good start is 3x per day for ten minutes.

Photo by Bethany Laird from Unsplash

Bath in the language you want to learn.

  • watch videos of dive courses in the new language!
  • listen to the radio in the target language
  • watch movies with subtitles
  • watch youtube videos in the target language
  • watch the news and observe the mouth of the speaker
  • change your computer and phone settings to the new language

Screenshot by Andreas Ott

Don’t try to understand every little word.

Focus on getting the meaning of a sentence first before the individual words. When you first understand the message you will unconsciously acquire the language.


As I wrote in the opening, languages did help me to land amazing jobs. Especially in Southeast Asia and Australia.

The more languages you speak the more likely it is you land your next dream dive job.

Also, it is easier to make an extra buck in your dive jobs.

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