(Original post by adfdub)
As a recent graduate with a degree in single honours French, I would say you should be very careful about deciding to study just
languages. As a joint degree or major/minor, I'd say it's a great idea - the year abroad is excellent for graduate applications, you can travel, see the world, and you're pretty well-off for the year too.
However, so many people who study languages at uni do so because they want to live or work abroad, and a degree in the language of that country often qualifies you for nothing - not even teaching English. This is particularly the case in continental Europe (esp. France, Spain etc.), where unemployment is traditionally higher than the UK, young people study very specific degrees normally to at least 5 years post-school and only those from the most prestigious universities with great internship experience will find good permanent jobs.
I say this after having moved to Paris through a very
lucky break and have been working in Intercultural Management for a big multinational group, so I'm involved in managing the differences in employment and management internationally and have to deal with the challenges of the differences between Europe 'proper' and the UK daily. Of my colleagues of similar status (France is very heirarchical) I am the least qualified, and therefore paid slightly less. When asked what I studied at uni and I reply with 'French', the reply I tend to get is 'Ah great! And...?'.
In order to progress in my career in France, I have to have a master's, and it must be in a very specific field, and, unfortunately, it must be from a world-class university. Which is going to cost 20,000 pounds for the fees alone, and will still not really compare to those who went through the elite 'grandes écoles' system in France.
My advice to anyone considering doing a language degree would be to go for it because it's a great experience and languages can set you apart - but also to really consider what you want to do afterwards, and study that - or something more vocational at least - as well. It's great having doors open but studying only
a language moves them slightly further away (unless you want to be a translator, interpretor, teacher, etc. of course). Classmates of mine are struggling.