By: Joseph Bennett
It’s no secret that learning a new language takes up a lot of time and energy. If you’re looking toward a college career you’ve probably spent at least a few years learning one. Upon graduating high school, many students find continuing foreign language study an impractical use of valuable time in their undergraduate career. In the days of yore, this may have been true, as a foreign language degree wasn’t necessary for most professions. But in today’s globalized marketplace, foreign language fluency is becoming an increasingly desired skill by employers in just about every field.
It doesn’t take more than a day in an undergraduate foreign language class to realize that most people in the class aren’t foreign language majors. While many students study language in college to prepare for a language based career path, today’s collegiate foreign language students range from business students to humanities graduates to aspiring astronauts (seriously).
Unlike high school language classes, undergraduate foreign language studies allow you the opportunity to invest in the kinds of studies that are right for your undergraduate and postgraduate career. A foreign language student will find him or herself dabbling in an incredibly diverse range of subjects, including not just grammar and culture, but anthropology, history, and maybe even some math. Because of this, a job seeker with foreign language fluency can find more eclectic career opportunities as a foreign language degree today shows not just fluency in a second language, but skills in critical thinking, communication, and analysis, to name a few. Even if language experience isn’t a prerequisite in your field, it’s still an important way to distinguish yourself in the competitive job market.
Collegiate foreign language studies can offer more than a career in foreign language, policy, or culture. A foreign language degree shows employers a more well-rounded and knowledgeable individual and gives oneself a competitive edge over other job applicants. It also helps to prepare oneself with the type of skills that will come in handy in just about any field. So whether you see yourself managing a business, pursuing a Ph.D., or living on the International Space Station, a foreign language major or minor might just be a worthy investment.