Why Study Languages
…When Everyone Speaks English?
Produced by the Subject Centre for
Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies
Endorsed by Languages Work
Sex Goda Skäl För
Att Studera Språk…
Du kan få ett jobb
Du har nytta av det ute i världen
Du kommer att träffa mycket folk
Du lär känna dig själv bättre
Du kan uppleva nya kulturer
Det är spännande
Did you understand?
Six Good Reasons for
Studying Languages…
It’ll get you a job
It’s exciting
It gets you places
You’ll meet loads of new people
You can enjoy new cultures
You’ll find out more about yourself
It’ll Get You a Job
A few facts about language
graduates and employability
But first – which of the following subjects
do YOU think have the best job prospects?
Physical Sciences
Biological Sciences
Business Studies
Medical Sciences
It’ll Get You a Job
Average unemployment rates for
new graduates in the UK 1996-2002
Medicine / Dentistry / Vet Science
All Modern Languages
Physical Sciences
Biological Sciences
Business / Administration
Source: Keith Marshall, 2003
It’ll Get You a Job
The jobs new UK graduates
really did in 2002
Business Services
Banking / Finance
Wholesale / Retail
Public Administration
Community / Social Services
Transport / Communications
Health/Social Work
Hotels & Restaurants
International Organisations
Other Areas
Source: Keith Marshall, 2003
It’ll Get You a Job
“Being able to speak other
languages is a skill that
gets you ahead”
The UK trades with over 200 countries
worldwide (Source: Trade Partners UK, 2002)
"UK businesses need people with language
skills, to operate at all levels." (Languages Work
Handbook for Languages and Careers, CILT 2004)
“Overseas inward investment into this
country means that multilinguals are
needed in the UK” (Higher Education Advisory Panel)
“Communication barriers lead to missed
business opportunities” (Plasberg, U. (1999) ‘Building
bridges to Europe: languages for students of other disciplines’ in the
Language Learning Journal, No. 20, pp. 51-58)
It’ll Get You a Job
“Being able to speak other
languages is a skill that
gets you ahead”
“One in every five British exporters (Statistics
from Metra Martech) knows it is losing
overseas business through its inability to
overcome language and cultural differences.”
Ref: BCC Language Survey: The Impact of Foreign Languages on British
Business - Part 1: The Qualitative Results (British
“The rapid expansion of opportunities for ebusiness within a shrinking world is driving a
need for languages ability. Customer
expectations and the high stakes of winning
or losing business require competence to
deal in a customer's language.”
Ref: Scottish Executive, Ministerial Action Group on Languages (2000)
Citizens of a Multilingual World: Key Issues
It’ll Get You a Job
“Being able to speak other
languages is a skill that
gets you ahead”
Sixth form students say:
“A language allows entry to the European
“A language gives you a competitive edge over
an opponent.”
“A language is a USP (unique selling point).”
“It’s an unusual qualification that employers
“Being successful at another language shows
good communication skills and shows
employers you are willing to learn new skills and
welcome a challenge.”
It’ll Get You a Job
“Being able to speak other
languages is a skill that
gets you ahead”
University students say:
“A language degree is almost like a gift. It's
an amazing advantage over other graduates.
They're going to be working in Englishspeaking countries whereas you have the
flexibility to go and work in a foreign-speaking
“In today’s world companies do a lot of
business with foreign companies. They need
to be able to communicate with them. They
need people with languages.”
It’ll Get You a Job
It’s not just
language skills either
Employers say they value the key skills
developed by language learners – these
communication skills • team working skills
interpersonal skills • presentation skills
problem solving skills • organisational skills
good learning strategies…
…can you think of any more?
It Gets You Places
Language degrees often
involve some time working or
studying abroad
This might involve living in a European
country… or further afield in Africa, Asia,
Latin America or North America
Students on non-language degrees can
sometimes choose to go abroad on
student exchanges
It Gets You Places
Living abroad is an
“Going to university was amazing but
going to Mexico was the best
experience in my entire life – it was
absolutely fantastic.
It was the Mexican culture and generally
being in such a fantastic country – it
was just so different to being in the UK”
It Gets You Places
You learn so much…
“You arrive and you have to learn about
new customs and where people live.
You learn to deal with new people. You
have to think about every word you
speak until suddenly you are fluent.
It makes you appreciate home too”
Suzanne is going back abroad
after her final year to marry her
Mexican boyfriend
You’ll Meet
Loads of New People
“I’ve made lots of new friends,
it’s really widened my horizons”
Using a language is a social activity and
language learning leads to encounters
with people from many backgrounds
“Speaking with people from different
cultures is very enriching. Languages
enable you to do this”
“Learning a language develops your
interest in other people”
You’ll Find Out
More About Yourself
Most people find their experiences
very rewarding at a personal level
“It’s a challenge”
“It’s enriching – you develop yourself”
“It opens your mind to understanding
other people but it also affects you in
your own life”
“You learn to get on with your
surroundings – you become less
You Can Enjoy
New Cultures
You find out about and experience
different cultures
… whilst reflecting on your own
“I really enjoy meeting people with different
perspectives on life – with different values
– different traditions”
“Meeting other cultures, you start to think
about your own country and background”
“You don’t realise that even the most basic
things can be different”
It’s Exciting
“Just being able to
communicate with people who
know a different language from you
– it’s a really great feeling”
And studying languages at university you
will have lots of choice…
UCAS – the universities admissions
service – lists over 7000 different language
degree courses on its website
It’s Exciting
Languages you can
choose include
Arabic • Chinese • Czech
Dutch • French • German
Gujerati • Hebrew • Hindi
Indonesian • Irish • Italian
Japanese • Polish • Portuguese
Russian • Sanskrit • Slovak
Spanish • Swahili • Swedish
Tamil • Thai • Turkish • Welsh
…and many more…
It’s Exciting
There are 4
language learning routes
you could follow at university
Route 1
Take a language degree – study one or
more languages together with related
modules in areas such as
linguistics • drama • film & media
politics & society • history •
literature popular culture
It’s Exciting
Route 2
Take a degree which integrates study of
a language with other subjects. This
includes degrees in
European Studies • International
Studies • Business Studies •
Leisure & Tourism
There are many other possibilities
It’s Exciting
“I find Spanish very challenging and
really relevant to my career choice”
Route 3
Take a joint degree and combine
language study with another discipline
Spanish & Computer Science •
Politics & Arabic • Marine
Sciences with French •
Geology & Italian
Look in prospectuses to
discover more options…
It’s Exciting
Route 4
Take a language option at some point in
your degree
Sometimes you can take specialist
language options which relate directly to
your main course of study e.g.
French for Lawyers • German
for Engineers • Italian for Art
And If You Still Need Convincing…
Studying languages means
Maximum Career Prospects
You will be very employable
Maximum Experience
There are lots of personal benefits
Maximum Choice
There are many languages and courses
to choose from
Maximum Fun
It’s certainly not all work and no play
Produced by the Subject Centre for
Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies

Why study languages