Results are out! Find what you need...fast. Get quick advice or join the chat
Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free to post

Where has your modern foreign languages degree taken you?

Announcements Posted on
Are you at uni? Can you help prospective students with their questions? We're looking for uni forum assistants 19-11-2014
    • Thread Starter
    • 16 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I'm looking at studying Spanish and German at university. Languages was always my strong point (I speak 4) but because I've always been pushed into studying sciences (the A levels 'I'm taking are Maths, Biology, Chemistry + three languages), I never ever considered it as a degree option.

    Recently my mum's been more understanding to what I want to do, and she's put the option of languages out there.

    I've been on all the websites looking at where a languages degree can take you. But it's one thing reading it on a website and actually hearing it from a languages graduate.

    If you are a languages graduate and could help me out with this by explaining where your degree has taken/is going to take you, then I'd be really grateful
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I haven't studied for a degree in my foreign language but I did spend time studying abroad for an number of years and took the international examination for proficiency there.

    I find that many none speaking countries have a strong team of translators working to translate into English. They do not often search for English speaking people to do work for them. What I would advise was to do what I'm doing now and work on a degree with could lead to work in the country you wish to focus on. Then you can specialise in certain translation work if that it what you want to do .

    I'm not really sure where a degree in foreign languages specifically will lead.
    • 25 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I am currently doing a second BA in Iceland, one of the better regions for my preferred subject, and will be starting an MA in January, partially. I study in Icelandic, write most of my coursework and take most of my exams in Icelandic. It has helped me get freelance work as a translator and work my way slowly into Icelandic society, where most Icelanders treat me differently because of my ability to speak their language.
    • 33 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    Up to last year (last year was my year abroad) I had been studying German and Spanish. I spent the year in Germany and realised I did not particularly want to put in another year's worth of slogging and messing up my work-life balance just to come out with a degree in Single Hons German (I stayed in Germany because it was easier to at the time). I did however travel to Denmark a lot and got a Danish boyfriend (and am now on my second Danish boyfriend, after that ended) and realised I like Denmark and Danes and Danish culture a hell of a lot more than I like Germany. My year abroad made me feel like I might not want to live abroad in the future, but thankfully my experiences in Denmark made me realise I was just trying to make it work in the wrong culture. I've dropped out of my degree just before final year and am doing various things and chilling out while working (VERY HARD) on my Danish and preparing myself to move over there for the foreseeable future.

    If I'd finished my degree I'd have been stuck with the typical language graduate choice of 'do I become a teacher? civil/diplomatic servant? translator? enter the world of banking?'. People go on about how a languages degree doesn't limit you to anything, but neither does it point you in much of a direction. If you haven't got something in particular you'd like to do afterwards you might end up being faced with what looks like a pretty unsatisfactory choice, unless you suddenly sprout an imagination. I'm looking at doing something totally different in Denmark, perhaps Medicine or perhaps Architecture or something related to it. Perhaps something else, perhaps I'll work on more languages and go into translation or similar. The problem, however, is that while I'm a total language freak and love being able to learn and use different languages, none of the jobs such as translation would hold my attention for very long. The chance of me ever wanting to teach or be a civil servant or (jesus) go into banking are approximately 0.00000000001 as well.

    So I'm just going to enjoy my languages as they are and see where I go from here. The way I'm learning my Danish actually feels a lot more organic and enjoyable than the language work at uni did, but that is most likely because I'm something of a seasoned linguist by now. I can't help but wonder whether I'd be able to speak any language to a particularly high degree (beyond A-level I mean) if I hadn't embarked on a languages degree.
    • Thread Starter
    • 16 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ronove)
    Up to last year (last year was my year abroad) I had been studying German and Spanish. I spent the year in Germany and realised I did not particularly want to put it another year's worth of slogging and messing up my work-life balance just to come out with a degree in Single Hons German (I stayed in Germany because it was easier to at the time). I did however travel to Denmark a lot and got a Danish boyfriend (and am now on my second Danish boyfriend, after that ended) and realised I like Denmark and Danes and Danish culture a hell of a lot more than I like Germany. My year abroad made me feel like I might not want to live abroad in the future, but thankfully my experiences in Denmark made me realise I was just trying to make it work in the wrong culture. I've dropped out of my degree just before final year and am doing various things and chilling out while working (VERY HARD) on my Danish and preparing myself to move over there for the foreseeable future.

    If I'd finished my degree I'd have been stuck with the typical language graduate choice of 'do I become a teacher? civil/diplomatic servant? translator? enter the world of banking?'. People go on about how a languages degree doesn't limit you to anything, but neither does it point you in much of a direction. If you haven't got something in particular you'd like to do afterwards you might end up being faced with what looks like a pretty unsatisfactory choice, unless you suddenly sprout an imagination. I'm looking at doing something totally different in Denmark, perhaps Medicine or perhaps Architecture or something related to it. Perhaps something else, perhaps I'll work on more languages and go into translation or similar. The problem, however, is that while I'm a total language freak and love being able to learn and use different languages, none of the jobs such as translation would hold my attention for very long. The chance of me ever wanting to teach or be a civil servant or (jesus) go into banking are approximately 0.00000000001 as well.

    So I'm just going to enjoy my languages as they are and see where I go from here. The way I'm learning my Danish actually feels a lot more organic and enjoyable than the language work at uni did, but that is most likely because I'm something of a seasoned linguist by now. I can't help but wonder whether I'd be able to speak any language to a particularly high degree (beyond A-level I mean) if I hadn't embarked on a languages degree.
    You don't really paint a very optimistic picture of it :erm: Thing is I'm very skilled in languages, and surely they're more useful than a degree in say history, or English? Do you know what any of your ex-colleagues went into after their degree?

    By the way, I love Germany and the Germans
    • 27 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I studied translation studies: german and now I'm an in-house translator, proofreader & interpreter for a german translation agency.
    • 17 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I don't know what my step-mother's degree is in (some MFL) but she was a translator for the EU.

    She speaks 5 languages fluently and can read Latin.
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    If you're fluent in more than 1 language already, it may be a better idea to gain a degree in something else. That way you can use your language skills in whatever job you train for.
    • 4 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I'm not contributing much by saying this but I also plan to study German and Spanish at university(2013 entry as I am moving to live in Germany for a year before I apply for a course) and I would like to become rather stereotypically an interpreter or translator,I don't like the idea of teaching as much.I really would like to live in Germany when I am older so would love a job there.
    • Thread Starter
    • 16 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by eve1293)
    If you're fluent in more than 1 language already, it may be a better idea to gain a degree in something else. That way you can use your language skills in whatever job you train for.
    But I have no idea what I could study :/
    • 33 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hellz_Bellz!)
    You don't really paint a very optimistic picture of it :erm: Thing is I'm very skilled in languages, and surely they're more useful than a degree in say history, or English? Do you know what any of your ex-colleagues went into after their degree?

    By the way, I love Germany and the Germans
    A languages degree essentially involves something like a History and an English degree (among other things), with focus on other cultures and languages. So comparing those isn't really helpful. I'd certainly rather do another languages degree than do English or History. As I said, I'm looking at going into Architecture or Medicine, which in contrast to those degrees you mention will qualify me for a particular career area which I would be interested in working in. If you have no idea what else you might want to do, there's nothing stopping you from doing a degree in languages. There are, after all, conversion courses in Psych and Law, and the Graduate Medicine degree, so there are ways to get into certain things after doing a different degree.

    My ex-coursemates are in their final year. I know of people from other years going into teaching or trying to work their way into publishing though. One is doing a Law conversion course. I think one might work for Erdinger Weissbräu but I'm not sure.

    By the way, I loved Germany and the Germans too, before I actually lived and worked with them for an entire year. I'd taken part in a German exchange at school approximately 3 times, stayed with the same family again in my gap year, lived in Berlin for a month while I was on a summer course, and been to Berlin on brief trips aside from that. During my year abroad I lived in three different towns/cities. Under the surface, taking into account all the good things, overall the balance was just not in Germany's favour for me. I knew I could be much happier elsewhere. And when you think of yourself as someone who wants to travel and experience other cultures and societies and you end up realising you view home in the UK as preferable to the foreign culture you're in, it becomes kind of obvious that perhaps you should write this one off and try a different one if you don't want to have regrets later in life. :p:
    • Thread Starter
    • 16 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ronove)
    A languages degree essentially involves something like a History and an English degree (among other things), with focus on other cultures and languages. So comparing those isn't really helpful. I'd certainly rather do another languages degree than do English or History. As I said, I'm looking at going into Architecture or Medicine, which in contrast to those degrees you mention will qualify me for a particular career area which I would be interested in working in. If you have no idea what else you might want to do, there's nothing stopping you from doing a degree in languages. There are, after all, conversion courses in Psych and Law, and the Graduate Medicine degree, so there are ways to get into certain things after doing a different degree.

    My ex-coursemates are in their final year. I know of people from other years going into teaching or trying to work their way into publishing though. One is doing a Law conversion course. I think one might work for Erdinger Weissbräu but I'm not sure.

    By the way, I loved Germany and the Germans too, before I actually lived and worked with them for an entire year. I'd taken part in a German exchange at school approximately 3 times, stayed with the same family again in my gap year, lived in Berlin for a month while I was on a summer course, and been to Berlin on brief trips aside from that. During my year abroad I lived in three different towns/cities. Under the surface, taking into account all the good things, overall the balance was just not in Germany's favour for me. I knew I could be much happier elsewhere. And when you think of yourself as someone who wants to travel and experience other cultures and societies and you end up realising you view home in the UK as preferable to the foreign culture you're in, it becomes kind of obvious that perhaps you should write this one off and try a different one if you don't want to have regrets later in life. :p:
    Thanks for your answer, I really appreciate it!

    I personally think a languages BA would be ideal for me. I've written off studying a science at uni because I don't enjoy them, and medicine is definitely not for me. I would like to go into law in the future but not directly - I figured it would be much more interesting to do something I really enjoy, then do the GDL, get legal training, etc. Plus, it's a much safer option, as I am still very young (and naive lol) so those 4 years will allow me to decide exactly what I want to do. Plus, getting a degree in German/ Spanish would leave my options open to working abroad in the future (I've lived in Spain, and visit Germany regularly to do home-stays and I thoroughly enjoy being in both countries).

    It's a shame that you didn't like Germany after living there. I've been every summer for2-3 months since the age of 11 and have met some lovely people there
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    The good thing about a language degree is that it leaves a lot of doors open, + will give you the added skill of a language (if you work hard at it). You aren't guided to any specific career, which is good in some ways, bad in others. If you decide, OK, I want to do XYZ after uni, then while you are at uni you can focus yourself towards that goal (as I am doing - getting experience etc). But you can just as easily drift through your course not getting any kind of work experience, skills etc. and then come out the other end with few prospects. (And I think this is the case for most arts degrees).

    Thus I know people, from my uni who did my degree, who have gone straight into Investment Banking or Law, and others who are now working the tills at ASDA or Xmas temping at Debenhams. It's really down to you. Your degree matters far less than you.
    • Thread Starter
    • 16 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Tefhel)
    The good thing about a language degree is that it leaves a lot of doors open, + will give you the added skill of a language (if you work hard at it). You aren't guided to any specific career, which is good in some ways, bad in others. If you decide, OK, I want to do XYZ after uni, then while you are at uni you can focus yourself towards that goal (as I am doing - getting experience etc). But you can just as easily drift through your course not getting any kind of work experience, skills etc. and then come out the other end with few prospects (as with most Arts degrees).

    Thus I know people, from my uni who did my degree, who have gone straight into Investment Banking or Law, and others who are now working the tills at ASDA or Xmas temping at Debenhams. It's really down to you. Your degree matters far less than you.
    Thanks for your reply. Yeah, absolutely agree. I think many people get complacent whilst on their courses and end up with 0 experience... May I ask you what type of experience you're getting?

    And I'm very much a get-up-and-go person - I'd never allow myself to be stuck in a dead-end job like ASDA...
    • 33 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Tefhel)
    The good thing about a language degree is that it leaves a lot of doors open, + will give you the added skill of a language (if you work hard at it). You aren't guided to any specific career, which is good in some ways, bad in others. If you decide, OK, I want to do XYZ after uni, then while you are at uni you can focus yourself towards that goal (as I am doing - getting experience etc). But you can just as easily drift through your course not getting any kind of work experience, skills etc. and then come out the other end with few prospects. (And I think this is the case for most arts degrees).

    Thus I know people, from my uni who did my degree, who have gone straight into Investment Banking or Law, and others who are now working the tills at ASDA or Xmas temping at Debenhams. It's really down to you. Your degree matters far less than you.
    The problem with this is that some people go into languages with no idea of some specific area of work they want to work towards. If I'd gone into academia or translation I would probably have sailed fairly comfortably into it without having collected leadership/organisational/volunteering experience because that's what my degree was for, and I considered going into Linguistics or something afterwards, but I ended up reconsidering whether I'd really enjoy it however many years down the line. I'm a total language freak which meant that I enjoyed my degree enough to not necessarily have much of an idea of where I wanted to go with it.
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ronove)
    The problem with this is that some people go into languages with no idea of some specific area of work they want to work towards. If I'd gone into academia or translation I would probably have sailed fairly comfortably into it without having collected leadership/organisational/volunteering experience because that's what my degree was for, and I considered going into Linguistics or something afterwards, but I ended up reconsidering whether I'd really enjoy it however many years down the line. I'm a total language freak which meant that I enjoyed my degree enough to not necessarily have much of an idea of where I wanted to go with it.
    Like most people, I didn't go into the degree with the mindset of "I want to definitely do X/Y career afterward" but I did go with the mindset of "I definitely want a career afterwards". And so am doing the volunteering etc. But some people just seem to go in with a kind of "Well I'm not going to think about a career until after uni" which isn't the best idea IMO.
    • 8 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I'm working as a civil service translator. In retrospect though, I would have been better off studying another subject and then studying translation postgrad.
    • Thread Starter
    • 16 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wes)
    I'm working as a civil service translator. In retrospect though, I would have been better off studying another subject and then studying translation postgrad.
    What would you have studied instead?
    • 3 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    My Mum has a French degree and went into teaching, she did English as a second language teaching in France, then French/German teaching 11-18, now she's a teaching and learning consultant for the county for MFL.
    • 8 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hellz_Bellz!)
    What would you have studied instead?
    I'd have liked to study biology, in retrospect, but that's mostly out of personal interest. THe French degree in itself wasn't particularly useful to me, and I would probably have gained more from having something else to specialize in.

Reply

Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. By joining you agree to our Ts and Cs, privacy policy and site rules

  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: August 23, 2014
New on TSR

GCSE mocks revision

Talk study tips this weekend

Article updates
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.