Career Opportunities for World Language Majors
World language study can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life. A major in World Languages & Cultural Studies at Merrimack College will help you communicate and interact with people from diverse backgrounds. It will also help you develop cultural awareness and sensitivity, expand your knowledge of global issues, and perhaps ultimately choose a career.
Proficiency in more than one language is a valuable skill that enhances your occupational possibilities. It may also give you a competitive edge in today’s job market.The ability to speak, read, write and comprehend another language is an asset in today’s global workplace. World language majors typically have a variety of career options in both the public and private sectors. Many professionals who deal with the public, including teachers, law-enforcement agents, medical personnel, and social service professionals, find that knowledge of a language other than English can be a real benefit. Multi-national corporations increasingly need employees with world language backgrounds to process documents and work as translators.
Keys to Success:
- Achieve a high level of competency in the target language
- Form clear career goals early on and work hard to achieve them
- Develop another area of expertise in addition to a world language
- Hone your cultural awareness skills.
Foreign language skills provide sharp edge in the job market
- “What Can You Do With a Foreign Language Degree? The Possibilities are Endless!”
- In its list of The 13 “Most Useful College Majors,” Newsweek magazine placed at #10 “French, German, Latin and other Common Foreign Languages.”
- According to Bloomberg Businessweek, “A growing number of business schools seem to be taking the view that a degree of fluency in at least one other major language is essential for the next generation of corporate leaders, despite the fact that most of their international programs are now conducted in English.”
- The International Business Times reported that job seekers with bilingual skills could look forward to a profusion of opportunities in the coming year.
- The “Education Portal” website offers “Career Information for a degree in Foreign Languages” (with salary stats).
- Omniglot, the online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages, offers these career suggestions and many links for additional information and resources for those majoring in foreign languages.
- The Vistawide World Languages and Cultures website is a resource for foreign language majors.
- “Language Study in the Age of Globalization: The College-Level Experience” an excellent brochure prepared by the Modern Languages Association (MLA).
The following lists are a representative sample of job titles and types of employers for individuals who have majored in world languages. In most cases, you will need to develop expertise in a secondary field in order to secure one of these highly specialized positions:
Employers in modern World Languages:
With the exception of positions in teaching, translating, and interpreting, in most entry-level jobs your language ability is seen as a secondary skill or asset. Since it is not the primary function of your job, employers may be more interested in your understanding of cultural nuances. That is, cultural sensitivity and an ability to relate to and communicate with people seem to be an equally high priority.
World Language majors who are willing to develop other areas of expertise: computer science, business administration, law, criminal justice, communications, management banking, political science, et cetera, have a good chance of being hired in today’s very competitive workforce.