Leveraging Foreign Language Studies

From Ancient Greek to Japanese, the College offers 12 unique foreign language programs that provide students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in global cultures! If you’ve considered majoring or minoring in a foreign language, you may have questioned what careers you could pursue, especially if you plan to work in the states. Fortunately, there are many opportunities!

Many organizations in the U.S. actively seek employees who are bilingual. Dr. Irina Erman, Russian Studies Program Director, shares careers that her former foreign languages students have pursued. Several of her students have pursued careers in non-profits, consulting firms, and computer science.  Additionally, students from various foreign language studies have pursued positions such as quality improvement advising for health systems, youth services, development for NGOs, cybersecurity, training specialists, medical interpreters, and much more. Each of these positions have allowed former students to leverage their foreign language studies. 

To make the most out of a foreign language major or minor, it’s important to network at CofC by talking to your professors, attending lectures organized by the College, and talking to other students in your program that share your interests.

Dr. Erman advises:  “Make connections and maintain those connections.”

With a degree in a foreign language and an expansive network in your prospective career field, it’s also possible to secure a job in another country. One way to begin a career outside of the U.S. is by seeking positions in international or American companies that have a presence in the country of your choice, and then further expanding your network in that country. The College actually offers opportunities to get connected to such organizations! The German American Business Summit, hosted by the Career Center and the German Studies Program each year, is a networking event and career fair opportunity for students interested in working in a business that’s both German and American. Attending events like this Summit provides a wonderful opportunity for you to build connections with potential employers.

Even when applying for positions that do not directly incorporate a foreign language, having the ability to speak multiple languages and demonstrating cultural competency can make you stand out in interviews. To help maintain these skills after graduation, there are a few everyday steps you can take. For instance, simply watch shows or movies in that language, watch or read the news from the country of your language, and read books (leisurely or academic books – either one helps!) in that language. Majoring or minoring in a foreign language at CofC can open so many opportunities both in and out of the country!


-Christina Ferrell, Peer Career Advisor