Knowing another language is an invaluable skill in our increasingly interconnected world. The undergraduate and graduate programs offered by the Department of Modern Languages help you develop the ability to communicate, converse, understand, read and write another language; gain appreciation of its literature and culture; and become more fully engaged as a citizen.
What kinds of jobs could I get with a language major?
Practically anything! One of the many benefits of a language major is the
flexibility afforded to you. You can work in whatever areas you've gained experiences and skills in while in college through part-time jobs, internships and student organizations. If you are interested in working in hospitality, for example, you can major in Arabic Studies and complete hospitality courses for your open electives while also working a part-time job in the hospitality industry.If you are interested in working for the government, you can begin as a volunteer in a government office, apply for City of Chicago internships and work part-time as an office assistant or desk receptionist in an alderman's office. Working on campus in an administrative capacity can also provide you with excellent experiences in an office setting.
You gain a variety of skills when you complete language courses, which prepares you for success as a professional in any field. You can improve your verbal & written communication skills, interpersonal skills, ability to work in diverse environments and critical thinking skills, to name a few. You may also find a more comprehensive list of what you can do with a language major through the Career Center's website. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) also provides a comprehensive map of 21st Century skills gained through language study.
Skills list and additional career ideas:
What major should I choose?
The world is not divided by major and job opportunities are constantly changing. Jobs that exist today, may not exist when you graduate and many new jobs that do not yet exist will be created after you graduate. Many jobs are not limited to specific majors. Check out job posts online (we provide language-specific job search sites through our language resource pages) to verify the education and experience requirements of the various careers you are exploring. If you're pursuing careers that are tied to a related major, such as becoming a teacher, accountant or financial consultant, that major may be the best choice for you. If you have no clue what you want to do and/or the list of courses required for a major you're considering gives you chills, and not in a good way, then you might want to look into other majors.
Recognize the overall skills you gain and need to
develop in college,
while studying what you enjoy and what corresponds with your
strengths. If you don't enjoy what you're studying, you're less likely to have the emotional energy to spend on gaining the skills and experiences you need for life after college. If you enjoy working/talking with people from other cultures
and enjoy the wonder and beauty of self-expression in other languages, a
language program may be a good fit! Here are a few articles that
address this ideology:
How do I land a job after college?
A college degree can help you qualify to apply for a job; experience, skills, likability/personality and company and/or /industry fit are
what get you hired. You can work on all of these while in
college so as to make the most of your college experience and expenses.
Read more about the skills employers are looking for in new hires (links in the above Q&A) and look for opportunities to polish these skills. Consider taking
two-credit classes such as UIP 240 and 241 as
a 5th class (fits within 18-credit tuition package if the other four
classes are only four credits each) to learn how to better articulate
who you are and what you have to offer a prospective employer.