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A Worthwhile Challenge

 

Although many students about to embark upon their higher education pathway are not made aware of it, there are now many universities which offer the chance to study a language at degree level from scratch.

Whilst it certainly is a challenge to successfully learn a new tongue at university with absolutely no prior knowledge of it, the benefits of doing so are manifold and not only develop highly valued skills but provide a rich cultural experience.

Such degrees, for example Mandarin, are very comprehensive and also include a year of living in the native country, a year of immersion that could not be gained from studying alone. They aim to provide the student with a thorough grounding of the language and the cultural aspects that make it more than just learning to communicate.

 

Languages in the Working World

Learning a language is solid proof of self-discipline, which is a favourable asset for employers. It requires dedication, and a variety of applicable skills; learning grammar shows knowledge of structures and the ability to apply them, a broad vocabulary shows creativity and resourcefulness and speaking the language well shows strong communication skills.

 

Interestingly, students deciding to take on languages at university declined rapidly following the rise in tuition fees, with a 21.5% drop in applications to non-European languages. This certainly makes multilingual graduates even more valuable to employers, as languages remain ever important for the success of the UK economy and, in the current employment climate, such skills are likely to give jobseekers the advantage over other candidates. It can help you find work abroad, for a translation company or as an interpreter.

 

Which One to Choose?

 

Whilst selecting a less commonly spoken language may give you great leverage in some situations, for example a company looking for a native English speaker who is fluent in Burmese will have a far more select pool of candidates to choose from than one fluent in French or Spanish, the fact of the matter is that these jobs will be much more difficult to come by.

 

See the full article by Rebecca Ratcliffe here: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/aug/07/studying-languages-at-university

 

 




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