Why Study Foreign Language?

WHY A MAJOR IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE WILL HELP YOU IN YOUR CAREER - AND IN LIFE!

  • Thinking in a foreign language helps economic decision-making: In a study with implications for businesspeople in a global economy, researchers at the University of Chicago have found that people make more rational decisions when they think through a problem in a non-native tongue.  ScienceDaily (April 25, 2012)
  • Being bilingual makes you smarter: It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age, according to an article in the New York Times: “Why Bilinguals are smarter.”
  • "Sometimes liberal-arts majors struggle a bit more than other majors when launching their careers, but the evidence shows that they tend to advance farther and be more sought out by CEOs for high-level jobs," says Katharine Hansen, writer for the job-hunting website Quintessential Careers and author of A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way Into the Hidden Job Market quoted in “What good is a liberal arts degree in the job market?”
  • Michelle Marion graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in French in 2009—when the economy was in a recession.  After waiting tables for a few months while searching for a job, she landed one in an aerospace company: “My responsibilities, which actually had little to do with the fact that I spoke French, were vast and varied,” she says. “They had more to do with skills such as researching, organization and self-motivation that I learned through the multi-disciplinary four years I spent in college.”  Marion was willing to start in a junior assistant position and wound up in a senior position—with a big pay increase in six months. She says that she knows other French majors who got good jobs at consulting firms, financial companies and government agencies.  As quoted in “What good is a liberal arts degree in the job market?”
  • “Of all the things employers look for when hiring entry-level talent, it’s the so-called ‘soft skills’ that are valued most:  communication, teamwork, flexibility and positive attitude are by far the most sought-after skills.  Employers understand that everything else can be taught, so they look for the most promising raw material to work with,” according to Jennifer Floren, Founder and CEO, Experience, Inc.
  • An analyst quoted on the JP Morgan career page said, “I wish I'd known that effective communication skills are critical for success, even at the Analyst level.” He adds,  “Looking back at college, I should have taken many more writing classes. I'd even say that a few more writing classes are more beneficial than a specialized derivatives class. You can learn the derivatives on the job.”
  • According to MyMajors.com, the communicative skills and intercultural understanding gained from studying a foreign language are increasingly valuable in many fields: business, education, government, law enforcement, media, social services and the service industry, among others. Many students choose a double or secondary major and combine a foreign language with a complementary field like English, history, international studies, journalism, political science, business, international marketing or education.
  • Collaboration is a highly valued skill valued in business and government jobs.  “Foreign language classrooms lead the way in teaching and learning collaboratively. And, more importantly, learning a foreign language fosters all the skills required to collaborate--most notably, the ability to communicate--speaking and listening, understanding and empathizing. While I certainly don't want to say that learning a foreign language is only worthwhile because it has concrete cash benefits, nor would I deny them,” writes Oberlin University Professor Erik Inglis.
Bilingual Brain