Foreign Language Study and Your Career
As our world becomes increasingly smaller due to globalization, the ability to speak a second language can greatly enhance your career possibilities. Whether you intend to stay in Michiana or hope one day to work in China, the knowledge of a second language and culture can help you find a satisfying and fulfilling profession. Below is a list of fields that often seek employees who can speak a foreign language.
Business, Industry, and CommerceMulti-national firms that do business with Canada, South America, Europe and Asia (the Ford Motor Company for example).
Marketing and Advertising Firms with an international focus.
Technical and Engineering Positions. Companies with plants overseas often seek employees with proficiency in languages such French, Spanish or Chinese.
GovernmentThe Federal Government is the largest employer of Americans with foreign language skills. The Department of State, international aid organizations, the United Nations, the Defense Department, the Agriculture Department as well as the CIA, all need people who can speak a foreign language. Increasingly the government is interested in people with proficiency in so-called “strategic languages” such as Chinese and Arabic. However, if you already have demonstrated proficiency in a more commonly learned language, say, German, the government is often willing to train people in a third language.
EducationTeaching: There are nearly 100,000 foreign language teachers in the United States, most teach in junior and senior high schools. Additionally, there are many teaching opportunities for those who work in bi-lingual education (usually Spanish and English).
Library science: Libraries routinely need to hire people with skills in foreign languages to read, archive, and purchase materials in languages other than English. Knowledge of languages is particularly vital for academic libraries.
Journalism: Journalists who intend to work outside of the United States or in communities where English is not the dominant language can greatly benefit from learning a second language.
Social Sciences: Anthropologists, Political Scientists, and Sociologist interested in studying cultures other than Anglophonic ones, must learn additional languages to carry out their work.
ServicesHospitals throughout the country need their employees (doctors, nurses, nurses’ aids) to be proficient languages other than English. Often that language is Spanish but, depending on the region, it might be Chinese or Urdu.
Social Services likewise often require people with knowledge of the foreign language spoken by the local community.
From: Edward Bourgoin, Foreign Languages and Your Career, 1993