Considering the numerous technological advancements introduced to us in recent years, connecting with people from all parts of the world is as easy as tapping a device. Traveling has never been more convenient, as evidenced by the increasing number of immigrants in the country.
As we interact with more people and build relationships with them, learning a foreign language becomes a necessity—and enrolling in a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language program is your first crucial step!
In a Foreign Language degree, there’s more to simply understanding and speaking a language you’re not used to. Students learn the language and develop an appreciation for it both in literary work and when casually spoken. Students also gain an understanding of the culture from which the language originated.
Typically, students can choose the language they’ll be specializing in. Popularly offered in a Foreign Language major are French, Italian, Spanish, and German.
At the end of the program, the student is expected to speak the language with a certain level of fluency and convey ideas effectively. Besides gaining the confidence and skill to communicate using the language, students become adept in translating it to English, too!
Still unconvinced? Here are 18 reasons why you should major in Foreign Language:
You gain more confidence.
Once you succeed in acquiring a new skill, your confidence improves significantly. You get a sense of accomplishment in being able to speak a new language. You become more comfortable in your interactions, too.
You boost your cognitive skills.
The process of learning a foreign language is in itself a cognitive exercise. It makes you sharp and keeps you that way because it requires time and dedication. Research shows that multilingual people perform better in standardized language and vocabulary tests than single-language speakers. Multilingual individuals also score better in problem-solving exercises in both mathematical-based and language-based tests. There are also lesser accounts of cognitive impairments such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among multilingual people than monolinguals.
You enhance your creativity.
In learning a foreign language, you are exposed to different people, places, and events. You view the world through a different lens, as they say, so your perspective changes and your ideas broaden.
You develop a deeper understanding of other cultures.
Language is your gateway to cultural awareness. A degree in Foreign Language is more than just learning the syntax and semantics of the language; it is a discovery of people and their culture!
You can serve your own country.
The government looks for agents and employees who can speak and understand foreign languages. With all the threats and issues on securities, both physical and cyber threats, it is essential to have an in-house person with a mastery of different languages!
You connect better with others.
As you learn about other people’s lives and cultures, you begin to shape opinions on how they live their lives. There is a certain level of awareness of the presence of beauty in diversity, and you now have a clearer view of the world in this respect. As a result, you become more considerate of others.
Have a better grasp of English (yes, your native language).
It may sound absurd, but learning a new language actually enhances your understanding of your own! As you learn new grammatical rules, you become more aware (and therefore get a better grasp) of the fundamentals of English. You compare and contrast the similarities and differences of the languages. In the process, learning of the new language becomes a breeze.
Migrating becomes easier.
If you plan to be an overseas worker, learning the language of the country you are planning to migrate to will make the adjustment to the new place a lot easier. Also, this will be an edge when you will be looking for a job in a new place since you can already speak their language and you are not limited to companies that speak English.
You acknowledge the beauty of linguistics.
To learn a foreign language, you need to have historical facts and theories behind the evolution of a certain language — how interrelated languages are to each other.
You gain exposure to foreign literature.
Majoring in Foreign Language goes beyond interpreting words and making sense of them. As you are also exposed to foreign literature and similar media, you expand your understanding of the world and appreciate art and culture that is distinctive to language you are focusing on.
Become the interpreter.
This is probably one of the best ways to put your skills to the test: a day-to-day scenario of you interpreting for others. If you major in Spanish, the second most widely used language in the United States, your non-Spanish speaking friends will thank you!
You can study and get scholarships abroad.
If you are planning to study abroad, it is an advantage that you know how to speak the language of the country you are about to live. This is not only for better adaptation of the new environment you are about to stay. Also, many scholarship grants give high merit to applicants who know how to speak the language of their place. This will be your chance to pursue further studies without the need to shell out as much money.
You enhance your connection and networking skills.
Being knowledgeable of other people’s history and culture allows you to appreciate and understand other people better. You become a better listener which in turn makes you a better communicator.
You experience few-to-zero travel issues.
If you are planning to travel to a country that speaks the language you major in, you will have less to no hassle to travel. You will save a lot of time as you now don’t see the need to ask for directions or look for an English menu at the restaurant. Also, you get to see other sides of the place that are normally not accessible for those who do not speak the language.
Everything becomes a lot more interesting!
Just imagine how much more people you can talk to with your new skill. There are thousands, if not millions, of people who actually speak that foreign language. Even by just browsing the social media, you can find a lot of people, comment on their thought, and interact with them through their native language.
It makes you stand out—and impress the right people!
A Foreign Language major is incredibly interesting, but it’s no walk in the park! It takes discipline and perseverance to learn to speak or write languages other than your own. Generally, multilingual speakers are well-regarded and well-respected in their community.
It is fun!
You are guaranteed to have so much fun in the process of learning another language. You will discover a lot of things not just on the subject matter but also regarding yourself. At the outset of the process, you will be making fun of yourself for all the possible mistakes you will be committing. But in the end, you will gain a sense of pride for being able to finish and successfully survived all the challenges that you encountered along the way.
Your Foreign Language Major is instrumental to your career advancement.
As more companies expand their business globally, there will be an increasing demand for people with knowledge of foreign languages. Industries need to keep up with the ever-changing market behavior, hence the need to hire multilingual employees. But simply because you can speak the language doesn’t always make you qualified; employers would want individuals who have an in-depth understanding of diverse market cultures.
Where Can a Foreign Language Degree Take You?
With a degree in Foreign Language, you can make a mark in practically any industry you wish to build your career on! Here are some of the businesses and organizations that require your skills as a Foreign Language degree holder:
G O V E R N M E N T
The government is one, if not the major employer of people with a Foreign Language degree, mainly for diplomatic relations. You can also pursue careers in Civil Service, Customs and Borders, Immigration, Law Enforcement, Security, Intelligence, and Journalism.
C O M M E R C E
Businesses that maintain a presence overseas or conduct import/export transactions need personnel with a Foreign Language degree. Whether you need to be present or working remotely, it is to your advantage to have a background in Foreign Language for communication purposes.
R E S E A R C H & D E V E L O P M E N T
This may come as a surprise but people with a Foreign Language background are actually an asset in the field of research especially for social scientists. Foreign Language degree holders have a better grasp not just of the foreign language but of the cultural background to which the said language is anchored. This will make the research more meaningful in harvesting and interpreting cultural-based data.
T R A V E L & T O U R I S M
There is probably no better way to ensure a successful travel and tourism business than having a person who can connect and relate with the tourists on a more personal level. Companies are always on the lookout for professionals with a Foreign Language degree tucked in their belt.
I N T E R P R E T A T I O N & T R A N S L A T I O N
This is the most obvious career for a person with a Foreign Language degree—and also the most flexible of all the options. There are numerous contract-based freelancers who translate legal, medical or literary documents, and even make movie subtitles!
Professional Organizations for Foreign Language Degree Programs
Certain organizations support programs for learning a Foreign Language, including as a formal degree and a future professional’s credentials. These organizations, regardless of their distinct missions, provide the connections, resources, and materials needed for the professional development of a Foreign Language major:
The Modern Language Association (MLA) of America is one of the largest Language organizations in the country. It was founded in 1883 to provide a venue for its members to discuss relevant issues and trends in the academe. The organization serves mainly to both English and foreign language faculty members and department heads.
Through the MLA Academic Program Services, the MLA conducts trainings and assessments, and offers consultancy services. They will help you connect with people and colleagues who are also in the same field to exchange information and ideas about the academic programs.
Through its many years of service, MLA formed the Association of Departments of English (ADE) and the Association of Department of Foreign Languages (ADFL), each with its own various programs to serve its members and to improve Foreign Language education.
The Linguistic Society of America (LSA) deals with the scientific study of language. Their members are students and researchers from different parts of the world who are tirelessly discovering and relaying updates in the field of linguistics.
LSA constantly publishes peer-reviewed journals encompassing Linguistics as a discipline. It also holds conferences and holds annual meetings to discuss matters relating to Foreign Language and Linguistics education.
The American Association for Applied Linguistics is an organization of scholars who are into different fields of applied linguistics. The association was founded in 1977 and it has procured several activities that helped language studies in general.
AAAL promotes research and has organized conferences for scholars. It has also put up a fund, the Fund for the Future of Applied Linguistics, to subsidize and secure the participation of graduate students in their conferences.
As you carve out your career, be prepared for the world! Invest in an undergraduate degree program that makes you a culturally aware and highly skilled communicator in a language other than your own!