What Can I Do with My Language Major?

Overview

The study of language allows us to understand the world better, identify commonalities, and respect cultural differences. Students may major in one of nine languages currently offered by the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics (FLL) at Georgetown: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish. While the program for each language varies somewhat, all departments are committed to providing students with an excellent background in not only the language itself, but also in the culture it embodies. Students who major in a language gain the ability to communicate effectively in both written and spoken forms, and will study the language in its multifaceted presence, including history, literature, politics, and the arts. A study abroad component, in the form of a full academic year or semester, or a summer program, is often required or is at least strongly encouraged. Students take multiple courses taught in the language of their major, and many departments stipulate that students must also study a second language.

Students who major in a specific language are well-equipped to enter a variety of fields and to continue their education through professional or graduate school. The skills acquired as a language major are increasingly useful in our interdependent world, and some languages are currently in particular demand. For example, the number of native Spanish speakers in the United States has increased interest in people who can communicate effectively in the language, and Arabic speakers are particularly needed in areas of government, international relations, and national security.

Skills

The study of languages develops a core set of skills sought after by employers in a wide range of occupational settings. A sampling of representative skills and abilities follows.

Communication

  • Multilingualism
  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Expressing & understanding multiple viewpoints
  • Presenting information logically
  • Reading critically
  • Writing effectively
  • Linguistic sophistication

Human Relations

  • Understanding cultural differences
  • Sensitivity to cultural issues
  • Flexibility in thinking and learning
  • Ability to adjust to new environments
  • Appreciation of cultural history, literature, politics, music, and more

Critical Thinking

  • Thinking collaboratively
  • Analyzing information, cultures, and complex problems
  • Comparing & contrasting interpretations
  • Offering diverse perspectives
  • Assessing cultural differences
  • Synthesizing themes
  • Research skills

Problem Solving

  • Assessing needs
  • Defining problems
  • Understanding alternative perspectives
  • Gathering information from a variety of sources
  • Weighing alternatives
  • Generating creative solutions
Sample Internship Opportunities
  • U.S. State Department
  • Government agencies (e.g. National Security Agency)
  • Embassy (U.S. & foreign)
  • Museums (e.g. Smithsonian Institutions)
  • Educational Programs (e.g. Summerbridge)
  • Consulting firms (e.g. Social Technologies)
  • Media (e.g. ABC Nightline, Dateline NBC)

Where are Georgetown Language Majors Now?

  • Public relations
  • Journalist/Writer
  • Television reporter
  • Radio production
  • Editorial assistant
  • Speech writer
  • Web editor
  • Interpreter/translator
  • Attorney
  • Artificial intelligence
  • FBI/NSA agent
  • Legislative assistant
  • International relations specialist
  • Grant writer/fundraiser
  • Peace Corps volunteer
  • Community organizer
  • Human rights worker
  • Foreign service
  • Foreign news correspondent
  • University administrator
  • Financial analyst
  • Market research analyst
  • Human resources specialist
  • Advertiser
  • Consultant
  • Fashion industry
  • International marketing
  • Investment banking
  • Electronic commerce
  • Medical professions
  • Teacher
  • Professor
  • Librarian
  • International teletype/telephone operator
  • Customs agent
  • Affirmative action representative
Relevant Web Sites and Publications
Professional Organizations

For more information about career options, internship and full-time opportunities, contact the Career Education Center at One Leavey Center, (202) 687-3493. For more information about the language majors and degree requirements, visit the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics online.