The importance of a Modern Language degree
by Sharon Mollerus
I'm the first to admit that I don't really use my Italian language skills in my job. I'd love to - but I don't. However, that's not to say I don't use what I learnt during my Italian degree every day. My year abroad in Italy and understanding of the language introduced me not only to Italian food, art and culture but to a relaxed, happy approach to life (in the sense that if you enjoy what you do each day, you will get a huge amount out of it) and effectively a new way of thinking, all of which has changed me for the better and is thanks to my language degree.It's not that I wish I were Italian and living in Italy (tho'...it'd be nice!), it's that since I am English and have had the opportunity to be Italian for a year, I now understand and love both approaches to life and can mix the two together - i.e. to really enjoy everything I do and to make money from it - a.k.a. turning my hobbies into my career!
I think that speaking two languages fluently plays a huge part in this: I am more aware of business opportunities, I am more sensitive to other points of view, I have a more international outlook for my business dealings, Italians really appreciate that I speak their language and are more open to working with me, and I know that I could bring international business to any company that I worked for.
If you love a country and speak the language, at least you can carry that with you for your whole career while you chop and change industries. If you can't decide what you want to be when you grow up, why guess at an industry and a degree course now? Employers can teach you their business in two weeks, but they can't teach you a foreign language - which is why Modern Language degrees are so important.
Oh, and it's also seriously good fun secretly being bilingual while actually understanding every word that the people next to you are saying!
Please contribute to our forum topic Things I never realised about a language degree and also read my blog post about The solution to the decline in the study of Modern Languages.