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What Can I Do With A Major In Foreign Language?

The study of foreign languages focuses on learning about the language, linguistics, literature and culture of that program. The ability to speak another language fluently can be an asset in today's global world of work. Employment opportunities exist in many career fields and employment sectors for graduates with a foreign language.

Possible Career Options

(Some may require further education/specialization)

Advertising Copywriter
Airport Staff Member
Archivist
Bilingual Secretary
CIA/FBI Agent
Columnist/Reporter/Editor
Consultant
Copy Editor
Court Interpreter
Cultural Officer
Customer Service Representative
Customs/Immigration Officer
Escort Interpreter/Guide
Flight Attendant
Foreign Film Dubber
Foreign Language Tutor
Foreign News Correspondent
Foreign Services Office
Foreign Student Advisor
Human Resources Representatives
Immigration Inspector/Agent
Import/Export Specialist
Indexer
Intelligence Researcher
International Banker
International Conference Planner
International Trade Specialist
Interpreter/Translator
Librarian/Library Technician
Missionary
Peace Corps/VISTA Worker
Police Officer
Proofreader
Public Health Administrator
Radio/TV Script Writer/Announcer
Restaurant Manager
Social Worker
Teacher, English/Other Language
Teacher, Social Studies
Technical Writer/Communicator
Tour Organizer/Guide
Translation Service Company Owner
Travel Agent
UNESCO Official

Types of Employers

Private & Non-Profit Organizations

Advertising Agencies
Airlines/Airports
American Schools Abroad
Amnesty International
Banks
Book Publishers
Civic Organizations
Clinics
Colleges/Universities
Consulting Firms
Hospitals/Clinics
Hotels/Restaurants/Resorts
Libraries
Newspapers/Magazines
Pan American Health Organizations
Red Cross International
Retail Stores
School Systems
Social Services Agencies
Television/Radio Stations
Travel Agencies
United Nations
YMCA/YWCA

Government Agencies

Agency for International Development
Bureau of Export Administration
Bureau of Intelligence and Research
Bureau of International Labor Affairs
CIA/FBI
Defense Intelligence Agency
Department of Defense
Drug Enforcement Administration
Foreign Agricultural Service
Foreign Commercial Service
Foreign Service
Governor’s Commission on International Trade
Immigration and Naturalization Service
International Trade Administration
Library of Congress
National Endowment for the Humanities
National Security Agency
Office of International Affairs
Office of International Cooperation and Development
Office of International Education
Office of International Policy and Programs
Peace Corps/AmeriCorps
Telecommunications Satellite Organization
Travel and Tourism Division
US Customs Service
US Department of State
US Information Agency

Transferrable Skills

General Skills
Understands and communicates well in a second language
Possesses excellent command of the English language
Learns technical terminology

Translation Skills
Conducts and clearly explains research results
Reads analytically and critically
Understands and uses qualitative research techniques

Interpretation Skills
Translates oral and written communication from one language to another
Makes quick and continuous judgments concerning spoken words
Speaks clearly, accurately and quickly
Works well under pressure

 

Experiential Education

Working and consulting with visa approval

Working in a foreign language lab as a student assistant

Broadcasting daily community service radio program(s) in another language

Working in a packaging division of a manufacturing organization and developing directions in another language

Teaching language skills to elementary students

Serving as a translator for community service organizations when dealing with clients that speak other languages

Professional Associations

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages,
actfl.org

American Foreign Service Association,
afsa.org

Center for Applied Linguistics,
cal.org

Florida Foreign Language Association,
ffla.us

Foreign Policy Association,
fpa.org

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc.,
tesol.org

United Nations,
un.org/en

Enhancing Your Employability

Join relevant student organizations to develop leadership skills

Participate in internships and field experience placements

Participate in a study abroad opportunity

Become active in alumni and/or mentor networks

Plan on a graduate degree for advancement

Take part in mock interview opportunities

Source: Ashland University, Rutgers University