Problem solving, critical thinking (including reading critically), honing oral and written communication skills, interviewing (a lot of our oral exams test in this format), attention to accuracy and being precise, a better knowledge of grammar, attention to detail, cross-cultural referencing (the idea that there is not just one way to do something or think about something), enhanced concentration, better listening skills, a deeper connection to other cultures and gain in perspective on one’s own culture.
People who speak more than one language also have improved memory, ability to multitask and they switch between competing tasks and monitor changes in their environment more easily than monolinguals, as well as display signs of greater creativity and flexibility. If that weren’t enough, as we age, being bilingual or multilingual also helps to stave off mental aging and cognitive decline!
Studies show that decisions made in your second language are more reason-driven than those made in your native language. Contrary to popular assumptions, when we deliberate in a second or third language, we actually distance ourselves from the emotional responses and biases deeply associated with our mother tongue. The result? Systematic and clear-headed decisions based on just the facts!
You can be a Foreign correspondent ● Foreign service officer ● Intelligence specialist ● Interpreter / Translator ● International banking officer ● International relations specialist ● Linguist ● Professor / Teacher of Languages ● Government Agencies (State Dept, Dept of Agriculture, Central Intelligence Agency , etc.) ● Import/export companies ● United Nations ● Magazines and newspapers (writer, researcher) ● Etc.!
Government Jobs For those seeking to enter the government workforce, language skills have become more than a resume-boosting asset. They are of vital importance to the safety and effectiveness of both the professionals themselves and the citizens they protect and serve. More good news: Not only will strong language skills help you secure an interview for your dream job, but many times agencies offer hiring bonuses for those proficient in other languages. (LEAD with Language website - Careers in Government)
Teaching Foreign Languages Private/independent schools often have strong language programs including Spanish, French, Mandarin, German, and Latin/Classics. If there is a language that you are passionate about and you would like to spread the joy of learning a second language, you should consider teaching it at an independent school. (Southern Teachers website - Language Jobs)
More Options American Association of French Teachers | American Translators Association | Institute of Translation and Interpreting | Linguistics Society | Modern Language Association of America | Society of Federal Linguistics | North American Language and Culture Assistants Program | Teaching Assistant Program in France
9 out of 10 U.S. employers rely on employees with language skills other than English
56% say their foreign language demand will increase in the next 5 years
47% state a need for language skills exclusively for the domestic market
1 in 3 language-dependent U.S. employers report a language skills gap
1 in 4 U.S. employers lost business due to a lack of language skills
Yes, you can do anything with a degree in modern languages...
Austin Gregory '18 majored in French and is currently teaching at a junior high school in South Boston, Virginia. He enjoys it so much that he is considering seeking a master's degree in French and then returning to the classroom.
Travis Stackow '18 majored in English, but studied Russian extensively. With a sense of adventure in his blood, he was accepted into the Peace Corps. His love of Eastern European cultures, philosophy, and language led him to serve in Moldova.
Kole Donaldson '18 attended The College of William & Mary School of Law.
Christian Malot (French) taught law in English for a year in France before returning to the U.S. to practice law. He works for the Prosecutor’s Office in Farmville, VA.
Wes Proctor (Spanish) works in Asia in business
Justin Azar (Spanish) is a pediatrician
Alex Morrison (Spanish) manages a a dental chain
Adam Lees (French) works on democratic political campaigns
Beau Bryan (French) taught in two Richmond high schools before getting his master's degree in French at UVA.
Phi Sigma Iota, the international foreign language honor society, recognizes the "outstanding ability and attainments in the study and teaching of foreign languages" and stimulates "advanced pursuits and individual research in this discipline." Advisor: Dr. Jannette Amaral-Rodríguez
The Modern Languages Department encourages foreign study courses overseas; they must be approved in advance by the department chair and be consonant with H-SC's curricular philosophy. The Office of Global Education can help you.