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    I've been thinking about what to major in, and I've always been interested in foreign languages, especially French and Japanese. So naturally I've thought about studying it at degree level. But it seems to me that I could reach fluency in said languages without studying it at university. I understand that a degree is a good idea if you really want to learn about the culture and the literature of a certain country, but couldn't all that be achieved through self-study? If your goal is fluency, then is there still a point in studying it to degree level? I notice that there are many people who after majoring in a foreign language still can't really speak the language to at least a near-native level.
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    It depends on what kind of job you want I suppose and if you want a degree or not in general. Living in the country probably would get you there quicker but it might be hard to find a job there first without knowledge of the language, you obviously wouldn't be able to apply for degree level jobs without a degree and you would miss out on all the other knowledge that comes with the degree. If you wanted to know if you could reach fluency without one then yes, of course
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    (Original post by lunchbox)
    I've been thinking about what to major in, and I've always been interested in foreign languages, especially French and Japanese. So naturally I've thought about studying it at degree level. But it seems to me that I could reach fluency in said languages without studying it at university. I understand that a degree is a good idea if you really want to learn about the culture and the literature of a certain country, but couldn't all that be achieved through self-study?
    I personally think it could (others will disagree). I know many scientists who are fluent in foreign languages (no, not just English...), often more than two or three; that's because you often follow your scientific interests to a new country, and if you live and work there for a few years, you pick up the language anyway..

    I think that the advantage of a language degree could be that you are forced to do the necessary work to become fluent; if you do it on your own, you will need much higher motivation or need to work/live in the country for a prolonged period of time. On the other hand, if you don't care about history, literature, linguistics or culture, a language degree might even be de-motivating.

    Often people argue that language degrees have the advantage of a year abroad. But you can study for any degree AND spend a year abroad - with the Erasmus scheme which many British universities are part of.

    Not dissing a language degree btw - it's a very good and respected choice and if your passion lies in literature written in the language, or linguistics, it's probably preferable to most others. (I am biased towards pure Linguistics degrees, but that is a personal thing; I just like the more sciency aspect.)
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    Depend on what you want to get out of a degree.
    If you want to experience uni-life along side learning a language or two then yes.
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    Best thing about a language degree is the pissabout year abroad In terms of fluency, that really depends entirely on the language and the person (some people will just never become fluent in another language). Best way to become fluent in a language is just to live in the country for an extended period of time though.
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    The main reason I am having doubts about the usefulness of a degree in a foreign language is because of sites like this: http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/

    He was able to reach a near-native level in Japanese by immersing himself in a self-created all-Japanese environment.

    So a degree seems redundant.
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    It really depends on the type of person that you are, and if you want to use the languages for a job. If you feel that you will be able to make yourself sit down and study 2 languages each day of your own accord then go for it..but if you want to use your languages in the future for a job, then you will need to be able to prove that you are fluent in the language. That is normally an interview in the language. Just because you have a degree in French doesnt mean that you can speak french. I know a lot of people who have been studying french for 10 years and still have no accent and can not speak French and they are living in France at the minute. Languages are a very personal thing though it is really hard to tell if a degree is for someone or not. I choose to do the degree because I wanted to use it for something. Remember that alot of employers find languages at degree level very attractive.
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    (Original post by lunchbox)
    The main reason I am having doubts about the usefulness of a degree in a foreign language is because of sites like this: http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/

    He was able to reach a near-native level in Japanese by immersing himself in a self-created all-Japanese environment.

    So a degree seems redundant.
    Do you want to go to university? Is there something not-language-related you want to study? If yes, I would just do that. If no, give more details. :)
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    I would say that very, very few people would be able to learn two languages, particularly a challenging one such as Japanese, by themselves. While extended stay in a country is the best way to become fluent, usually you would need to speak the language fairly well first as it would be pretty much impossible to integrate with people (which is how you become fluent) if you didn't speak any of it at all. Furthermore, graduate level jobs require a degree, and so if you're interested in languages then you may as well do your degree in that. If you'd rather do your degree in something else and study languages in your spare time, that's fair enough, but I don't think you'd achieve anywhere near the same level of fluency as those studying languages degrees. And as for people graduating and not being able to speak the language well - people graduate in all subjects with low degree classifications and/or from universities where the standard of teaching is lower.
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    I think a degree is useful, but for fluency I think it's better to actually be in the country. I don't think you could achieve anything like a near-native level by yourself as it'd be very difficult to be able to do that. I think a degree is better than nothing and you do need to learn some of the culture aspects. Some of the things I've learnt at uni I never would've learnt or understood on my own.
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    It's sort of related to the thread, so I'll post it here if you don't mind.

    It's often said (on TSR at least but probably also elsewhere) that employers are impressed with language degrees. I'm wondering if there are statistics out there to back this up? Because I was just reading through the 600 comments on this article, and while most of the commenters agree that learning/mastering a foreign language is very rewarding, many say that it hasn't helped them at all career-wise. However, obviously that depends on what career they chose to go into. Anyone know of non-uni non-language specific stats about language-degree graduates, rates of employment and types of job they go into? Thanks.
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    (Original post by llys)
    It's sort of related to the thread, so I'll post it here if you don't mind.

    It's often said (on TSR at least but probably also elsewhere) that employers are impressed with language degrees. I'm wondering if there are statistics out there to back this up? Because I was just reading through the 600 comments on this article, and while most of the commenters agree that learning/mastering a foreign language is very rewarding, many say that it hasn't helped them at all career-wise. However, obviously that depends on what career they chose to go into. Anyone know of non-uni non-language specific stats about language-degree graduates, rates of employment and types of job they go into? Thanks.
    Don't know of anything that specific but the Aston website has info about the rate of language graduates from the uni compared to other courses and the type of jobs they go into. Haven't found anything else yet but don't know that this is the type of thing you're looking for.
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    in my opinion studying a language at degree level does not make you fluent. if you want to work in translation or teach a foreign language then it is a good idea. I am studying management with French and I am taking a language module which involves a weekly grammar workshop studying French idioms and oral class with 8 other people, in addition I take politics modules in English which are interesting as they allow me to learn about French history. However I do not feel this method allows for much speaking practice and there is little regular assessment of written French. With hindsight I think it would have been more useful to take a straight business or accounting degree with a French language module offered to all subjects (same thing is offered at most universities). I think I would have learnt more practical use of French. My friend did this with Spanish, came to uni not speaking a word of Spanish to study Biology and took a 10 credit Spanish module, after 4 years he is now fluent. On the plus side I am looking forward to my year abroad!
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    (Original post by hannah_dru)
    Don't know of anything that specific but the Aston website has info about the rate of language graduates from the uni compared to other courses and the type of jobs they go into. Haven't found anything else yet but don't know that this is the type of thing you're looking for.
    Thanks, yes I'm looking for similar statistics, only for all british universities (or all Russell Group universities if you like) together.

    Maybe some of the links in this article will contain the information I looked for - haven't checked them yet but thought article and comments might in any case be interesting for people on here.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...eaching-demand
 
 
 
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