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Why Study a Second Language?

Why study a foreign language?

  • Building competitive skills for school and work:

Studying a foreign language can improve your analytic and interpretive capacities. Research has shown that students who study more years of foreign language have higher scores in entrance exams such as SATs, ACTs, GREs, MCATs, and LSATs. A language minor or major on your record will catch the eye of anyone reading your postgraduate or job application.

  • Job advantage in global economy:

In the "global village marketplace" U.S. citizens must develop a broad understanding of the world, proficiency in other languages, and knowledge of other cultures to be competitive. In western Pennsylvania, for example, Pittsburgh Plate Glass owns subsidiaries in France, and the Bayer Corporation is a German-owned company.

What can I do with my foreign language skills?

Many jobs spanning diverse occupational areas require language proficiency. Businesses and industries for which knowledge of a foreign language will enhance your career opportunities include:

•  Arts and entertainment

•  Automobile industry

•  Banking

•  Chemical industry

•  Computer and electronic industry

•  Environmental science

•  Heavy industry (e.g. steel, glass)

•  Hotel management

•  Human resources

•  Import/export

•  International politics/International relations

•  Journalism

•  Law (especially international and maritime law)

•  Library science and information systems

•  Media and communications

•  Medical/pharmaceutical companies

•  Medical research

•  Medicine and hospital work

•  Military & law enforcement

•  Political (special interest) lobbying

•  Publishing

•  State and Federal Government

•  Travel industry

•  World health & charity organizations

Within those occupational areas, jobs and careers for which foreign language competence may be necessary include:

•  Accounting

•  Customer Service

•  Engineering/Engineering consultancy

•  Financial analysis

•  Financial management

•  Intelligence gathering

•  Marketing and market research

•  Public relations

•  Research and development

•  Sales and distribution

•  Technical/product support

•  Translation and interpretation

•  Web design and management