Language Degree: What to expect?

Traveling abroad is a common experience for many college students today. Foreign countries offer new foods, friends, and sights that give you that certain air of worldliness (that is, the ability to say you’ve drunk in 16 different countries).

But what if being in another country is, for you, more than just a good way to get a vacation? What if you truly love the lifestyle, the people, and most of all, the language? If this describes you, then consider getting a language degree.

One of the best things about language degrees is that so many of them are available. Wish all the world was the Far East? Learn Japanese or Chinese. The Eiffel Tower owns your heart? Try a French degree. Wherever your passion and interest lie, you’re guaranteed a language that fits.

While in school, you can expect to spend your time writing, speaking, and learning the vocabulary of your chosen language. Get ready to dissect sentence structure and discuss everything from your favorite food to your feelings about politics.

The biggest obstacle to getting a language degree is all the grief you’ll probably get from your family. There’s the tired, old refrain, “But what will you do with that degree?” Here’s the truth: It’s pretty difficult to get a job with a liberal arts degree, period.

But even though language degrees don’t jump off the page for HR departments or Recruiters, you’re actually opening yourself up to a whole host of jobs for multilingual people. Any company that has offices abroad (and these days, there are lots) needs a person who can speak both English and another language. You can find yourself working as a Translator, Professor, or Interpreter.

If you’re concerned with getting a job after school, double-major in language and another field, like business. Also, keep in mind that those who get degrees in languages most used in business will do best. Both Spanish degrees and Arabic language degrees, for example, are very marketable.

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