Is it time for you to take your last high school exam and finally finish school? This is such an amazing and important moment in your life. Not only do you start a new life, but also need to make a few serious decisions that can influence your future greatly. Many students in Europe and America have a gap year after they finish high school: they take a break and spend a whole year travelling, learning more about this world, and discovering their true self. However, most of the people who have just had their proms need to decide on the right college and the right major. It is always hard to decide what is right or wrong for you when you are only 16, but quite often you can feel that if you choose a major in music, you will never find a job because you just do not have any talent. Nevertheless, there must be something out there that interests you and that you are pretty good at. Probably, it is math or chemistry or foreign languages? Today we would like to talk about getting a degree in foreign languages. Some people might say that this degree is useless and does not give a person many options. Never listen to such people. There are no bad majors, and a major in foreign languages is a fantastic choice if you feel you like it. First of all, you can choose a specific language that you want to focus on. Maybe, you were always amazed by Middle East and eastern countries? Think of choosing Arabic or Turkish as your specialization. Do you like Paris and living there has been your biggest dream? Go ahead and start studying French. Japanese, Zulu, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog – there is a huge variety of language around the world (more than 6,000!), so it won’t be easy to choose. When you study a language, you do not only focus on its lexicon and grammar. To understand the language fully, to feel it, and know its numerous aspects students have to go beyond the language scope and pay a lot of attention to the history, culture, and literature of the countries where this language is spoken. A true language professional is excited to go deeper and deeper into the debris of this culture’s development as it is the only way to let the language become an integral part of your life and your heart. So what can you really do with your language degree? Can you build a career with a diploma in foreign languages? Absolutely.
To begin with, you should never ignore the possibility to continue your higher education and to earn your Master’s degree or even PhD. Academia gives a fantastic opportunity to grow and develop your language and research skills and provides you with an opportunity to interact with people as interested in the subject as you are. Besides, it is always tempting to become an instructor and teach at colleges and universities – this job is extremely respected, exciting, and well-paid (which is a plus). Keep in mind that graduate programs are very competitive, and if you choose to build a career in Academia, make sure you are an excellent student and have a very high GPA. Otherwise, it is very difficult to become enrolled into a grad school.
For instance, if you know English and German, you can work as an ESL teacher. What does ESL stand for? This is an abbreviation of English as Second Language. Foreign language teachers work in a diverse international environment and have a great opportunity not only to teach people English or French or Hindi, but also to learn a lot from foreign students. If you are a big fan of languages, you will definitely be fond of working as a teacher. Besides, when you are a certified teacher, you should not worry about anything. You can have other careers, but your teaching can always serve you well in case something goes wrong with other jobs. People always need foreign language teachers, so this is a very productive niche.
Translators and interpreters
Remember this: translators and interpreters have different kind of work. Whereas translators work on written text, interpreters convert oral speech from one language to another. A good interpreter does not necessarily make a good translator, and a brilliant translator can fail as an interpreter. These professions require two different set of skills. But what they have in common is perfect knowledge of two different languages. A person who speaks a foreign language well needs training in order to become a professional translator or interpreter. These jobs, however, are worth it because they are very interesting and well-paid.
These are the standard jobs that a person with a language major can get. However, when we think of all the skills acquired but language major students, we can say that there are much more opportunities out there. Language major students have brilliant critical thinking and problem solving skills, there written and spoken language is at a very high level, and they have a lot of useful background knowledge in literature, culture, and history. This set of skills makes language major students eligible to apply for a position of a writer, a journalist, a web editor, a Foreign Service specialist, an artificial intelligence developer, an advertiser, and a librarian. This is not an exhaustive list of all professions that one can choose. So if you hesitate about choosing a language major, then think of all these fantastic opportunities.