Have you ever walked through the streets of a cosmopolitan city such as New York City or London and heard the conversations around you? Most of the time, you will hear many other languages besides English, like Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, German–you name it, you’ve probably heard it. There are a plethora of languages out there to learn. In London alone, there are over 300 languages spoken in the city. So why is it important to learn another language, or better yet, why would anyone want to major in another language?
Learning a language should be viewed as a gateway to other countries, cultures, and most importantly, people. During my travels abroad, I have come to learn that even the most basic language knowledge of “please” and “thank you” in another country can make a world of a difference in how you interact with those native speakers. So for those who have wanderlust and want to connect with more people, majoring in a language provides this unique opportunity. In addition, majoring in a language has many benefits that can help and even compliment other majors, such as comparative literature or business, as well. If you’re still unsure, we will talk about the other benefits of learning a modern language and some career options you have for it as well!
What’s a Modern Language Major?
From the United States context, the traditional modern language major would learn the literature and language of a particular country. These days, however, more and more language departments are integrating culture, media, and people of a language. Drawing from some linguistic as well, Modern Language majors also learn about the social context in which specific language is used. What other skills would you develop besides the obvious skill of picking up a new language? Like many other majors, you will be focusing on critical reading and developing writing skills, however you will learn how to develop those skills in multiple languages.
What languages can you major in?
It sounds silly, but honestly you can major in any language, even classical languages such as Greek or Latin (although you might have to search for Classics majors) Below are some of the most common languages you can major it that are offered in many colleges and universities:
What jobs can I get with a Modern Language major?
While you can apply your skills you develop as a Modern Language major, here are several jobs that most directly relate to your language:
- Academica (Teacher, Professor)
- Sales Executive
- Tour Manager
Where should I go?
For Modern Languages, it really depends on the language you are choosing as well as what specific aspect of learning a Modern Language interests you the most. In addition, if you major in a modern language, you will most likely have to study abroad in a country that speaks the language to fully immerse yourself. Here are some great colleges and universities to learn Modern Languages:
- University of Chicago – Romance Languages and Literature
- Johns Hopkins University – French, German, Chinese
- Middlebury College – Modern Languages
- New York University – Modern Languages