In many career advice sessions, students often ask me Can I make a good career from Foreign Language Study? What are some high-paying jobs after Foreign Language Study? How do I choose my Foreign Language Study program? So this is my response based on my experience of mentoring 100s of students in India and abroad. First, let me begin by posing a few questions you should ask yourself Do you enjoy learning and speaking languages other than your native language? Do you find it exciting to explore other cultures Would you like this passion to become your career? If the answer is YES, then you are a good candidate for Foreign Language Study.
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I have been a Professor at many universities in India as well as the United States. I have also lived in Japan, France, and Russia (for two or three years at a time). I enjoy other languages and have studied Russian in Moscow and some Japanese in Tokyo. I’m bilingual (Hindi and English) and when I get an opportunity, I love the thrill of switching languages and being able to speak to people in languages we share! So basically, you ought to be someone who enjoys engaging with different languages and cultures. Then Foreign Langauge Study is going to be a great career option for you that will help you land some amazing jobs,
Let me now clear one common misconception when you become a Foreign language professional, you are not simply a translator of language. Through your study, you become an expert in a foreign culture. A high-quality language Study program will include courses that immerse you into the history, society, and traditions of that culture, along with the language. Thus, when you master a language over a period of a few years, you also become a CULTURAL EXPERT in that region or country. This will be the crux of your career-building.
What Employability Options are Available After Foreign Language Study
So let us begin with a basic fact. Our world today is highly interconnected and international. Whether it is in tech, media, manufacturing or finance, or e-commerce, companies and organizations are connected to foreign partners, advisors, clients, or suppliers. They are all interdependent well beyond the Anglophone world where English is the language of transaction. Any business with an international connection needs to understand how best to interact with business teams or clients from another culture.
- Understanding client needs and expectations is not just about the simple translation of words—Google can do that! But for a collaboration or a deal to work smoothly, most hi-end businesses hire language specialists in French, Spanish, Korean Arabic, or another language relevant to their international business. Bigger MNCs who are in automobile manufacturing, defence equipment, etc have such in-house language jobs. Others may have freelance opportunities by contracts which may range from a few weeks to a couple of years. Businesses hire language experts to enhance smooth dealings with their partners.
- Research organizations and universities also offer careers for Foreign Language experts for teaching or being on Research teams along with scientists and researchers who may be working on medical research, space-related projects or climate change, etc. Such organizations are usually government-funded and have large budgets.
- Language Teaching can be both the primary career ( at a University ) or it can be a parallel career. This can include giving individual lessons or joining an Online Institute to offer lessons on a paid basis.
- Foreign Language expertise opens up exciting opportunities to work with Embassies. All foreign embassies in India (from non-English speaking countries) hire experts who are bi-lingual and are fluent in the language of that country as well as one or two Indian languages. Embassy jobs are well-paid, and the work environment is good. Embassies are located in the capital ( Delhi) but many countries have smaller Consulate offices in Bangaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, etc. which also give preference to candidates who are bi-lingual in the relevant foreign language.
- Large MNCs such as Amazon or consulting firms like Accenture, or even manufacturing companies like BMW, Siemens, Volkswagen, HP, Samsung, Hyundai, LG, and GE, do employ language experts for outsourcing and offshore work. Thus, French and German have wide prospects for employability
Which Foreign Language Should You Study?
Broadly languages may be classified into two categories — Popular Foreign Languages which may be spoken and taught more widely ( French, German, Spanish, Russian) Vs. Niche languages are narrower in scope but can also lead to high-paying jobs because there are fewer experts available(Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Persian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Finnish, Hebrew, etc.).The choice of language is entirely a matter of personal preference. If you are fascinated by culture, that should be the language you study. If you enjoy it, you will excel at it! But, do discuss with a counsellor if that language has good future prospects for employability. Languages like French and German are also used by several international organizations and branches of the United Nations. Thus, high employability.
Duration of Foreign Language Study
This may vary from a few months to 4-5 years. A 5-year university program will begin right after High-School. 3-year programs or shorter Advanced level programs also exist. Many Embassies offer classes. It all depends on the level of proficiency a student wants to achieve.
Pro Tip: Choose a program that will also enable you to visit that country and get familiar with the culture. Cultural Immersion also helps in fluency and correct pronunciation which is critical for a high-paying job as a Foreign Language expert.
To sum up In today’s competitive, evolving, and ever-shrinking world, language learning is regarded as a full-fledged career. There is an exponential demand for jobs requiring foreign language expertise. It is a career worth considering. We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr. Maina Chawla Singh Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you.
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