Why You Should Consider Majoring or Minoring in a Language

Academic Guidance

Why You Should Consider Majoring or Minoring in a Language

There are several hard decisions in the journey to graduation from college. One of the most difficult is choosing whether to major or minor in a specific subject, especially because many schools tend to have an overwhelming number of programs available for credit. Chances are that if you're here, you already have an appreciation for languages and foreign cultures, but if you're just here by chance, I hope this article will convince you to at least consider majoring or minoring in a language while in school.

Why study a foreign language? As we all know, the world is full of languages, and by learning a new language, you will instantly be able to communicate with potentially hundreds of millions of new people around the globe! But, studying a foreign language can also improve your analytic and interpretive capacities, and with today’s economy becoming more global, many more opportunities exist for those able to converse in different languages. If you're thinking of working abroad during your career, a language can help you get there faster! 

Studying a foreign language will give you the ability to communicate with more people. It will give you an opportunity to learn about a new culture. It will give you an advantage over many others. As mentioned above, in our globalized workforce, learning a language helps give you an edge. For example, it could make you a more stellar, unique candidate for graduate school or for a job. A majority of schools and companies admire diversity, and those that can speak another language tend to be more diverse. Consequently, anybody looking to improve their resume or looking to perhaps challenge himself/herself, or even looking to simply open more doors to opportunities, should consider the study of a foreign language at school.

So, concerned that a major isn't quite for you? Consider a minor, even if you're in the sciences or fields you think might not directly benefit. For those that are intent in their major of choice, pursuing a foreign language degree can nicely augment their application. One does not have to solely be a foreign language major. One could major in Chemical Engineering, for example, and additionally major in French. Alternatively, one could choose to major in Chemical Engineering and simply minor in French. 

A minor may be a more suitable alternative for those that do not have as much time to complete the major requirements or for those who may simply not be interested in using the language on a long-term basis. 

I've used some science examples above, but, really, languages allow for flexibility within any college curriculum (and could allow for some adventures). How? Well, a Math major may grow tired of solely taking Math-intensive courses at school. By pursuing a minor in Spanish, the student may be able to travel to Spain or South America to dedicate a semester to the study of Spanish and take a break from the Math. This is an opportunity I myself took advantage of when I dedicated an entire semester to the study of French and Francophone culture while living abroad in Paris. In fact, some study abroad programs may have mandatory language requirements, so if you have a dream destination, a language minor or major may help you get there! 

Although adding a major or a minor certainly will take much time and effort, it is very much worth at least considering. Speaking multiple languages is an invaluable asset that could prove useful in future career endeavors. Moreover, studying another culture can be very fruitful. Learning the history and customs of another people can provide one with a greater understanding of society and the diversity that exists in the world around us. For international students, learning a third language will only make you even more competitive. Consider majoring or minoring in a foreign language…you will definitely not regret it!