Tell Me Why (you should study languages)
Anyone who has been to even just one open day in a languages department will no doubt have heard the same presentation where you are lectured on how language study sets you up for much more than just teaching or translation work. While it is completely true, I often found that the sessions wouldn’t elaborate much further than this – apart from maybe reeling off a load of possible professions. These lacklustre performances, much like a club that closes at 2am, left me wanting more. With this in mind, I have detailed below some of the genuine benefits and justifications as to why language study is definitely a route which should be considered…
– It ain’t easy! Language degrees are generally considered on the tougher end of the spectrum when it comes to degree complexity and employers will take this into account. You will frequently be reminded of this whenever somebody asks what you study and they hasten to mention “oh I could never do that”. You never ask but they will always tell you.
– They’re versatile. Sorry if I am starting to sound like that crusty old professor who rambled on to a room of prospective students and their parents but it’s no lie. Around 80% of graduate programmes do not discriminate between what your bachelors is in and languages demonstrate a capability for a very sophisticated manner of learning. There are folks on my course who will soon be going into: marketing, sales, consultancy, education, banking, insurance and so much more! Don’t play into the classic myth that you can only become a teacher or translator, it’s all lies – probably spread by an embittered history student.
– You get to do a year abroad. Seems obvious but think about it. You get a whole year to, let’s be honest here, go and have a jolly somewhere new, mysterious and fascinating. My year abroad was the best year of my life hands down and the best part is that it actually helped my degree! If for nothing else, that should be the reason to convince anyone.
– You feel really cool. From that sentence you can probably tell that coming cool doesn’t come so naturally to me but I tell you what, if I am abroad with friends and I whack out some Italian, they are impressed and I am momentarily that little bit cooler. There is no better feeling than successfully communicating in a language that isn’t your own and language study lets that happen.
– Friends! From your travels you will encounter so many great people who, not only will probably help you with your studies in the future but also (if you’re lucky) will let you stay with them if you ever go back – free accommodation is never a bad thing! Obviously, freeloading isn’t the only upside to networking, a wealth of contacts is very useful when it comes to finding a job or needing a reference.
Well, here’s to hoping that these five reasons have helped to sway your opinion that little bit more because languages students are a dying breed. As a native English speaker, you are already in a very advantageous position, add a foreign language or two and you gain access to a very rare club, one which is heavily sought after in the increasingly-globalised, post-Brexit world.
Ps. Sorry for mentioning Brexit.