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    Upon graduation, I’d like to work in a politically related field – maybe a consultancy or a ThinkTank. I’ve been reading from various sources that politics would be a better bet for employment than languages, as language learning does not teach a specific industry or skill (apart from the language obviously), and it would be better to study languages alongside politics as your main degree – such as in university language centres.

    My main passion in life is politics, I’m a huge politics geek and I feel I have enough knowledge to work for an NGO/think tank – but the only thing a lack of politics degree would preclude me from is working for a policy consultancy I feel.
    I would like to work for an NGO/think tank and hopefully my languages may prove useful – or if not, I could tutor languages on the side/have tutoring as a backup given the uncertainty in the employment market. (This is a major concern of mine as I don’t have the luxury of being able to live with parents upon graduation and do need a job).

    I had also thought of translation, but apparently this is very difficult to break into.

    I don’t feel I could get my language ability up to a working level without the degree – I have self taught 3 European languages (ironic now ha!) for about 5 years and I speak them excellently (apologies for the arrogance haha!), but not quite work level fluency – which I think the degree would cement.

    I would really enjoy a politics degree as I really like writing (in English!) and probably find it much easier than studying languages (although I did get an A in one of my languages at A-level so I wouldn’t suck at it), but I don’t feel that would give me much more knowledge that I would require for a career that was politically related (i.e. less value for money).

    I actually think language learning is more vocation oriented than politics. Especially considering my degree involves quantifying data and I am actively involved in my local political party and would probably join debate soc etc at uni.

    Is there anyone out there who studied a language and is working in a different field and is happy with/regrets their choice to study languages?

    Or do you think, as the author suggests, you could get your linguistic fluency up to working level “on the side” of their main degree choice as it's a waste of time and degree to study just languages?


    Thoughts much appreciated.
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    What language would you most like to study at university? If you're going to combine languages with politics then I would not advise taking more than one.

    It sounds like a joint politics and languages degree would suit you perfectly. Combing politics with a language certainly won't hurt your chances of getting a job with an NGO, Think Tank or becoming a translator. NGOs like language graduates because they have extensive knowledge of another country/region of the world (and you can't get that from just learning the language in a language centre). I don't think it is possible to attain fluency in a foreign language 'on the side', sooner or later your degree studies will take priority and you will have to pause your language learning. Plus you won't have the opportunity to take a year abroad!

    Pay particular attention to degree structure and module options when looking for a degree, some language degrees involve quite a lot of politics/society-based modules, whereas others focus on literature.
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    Personally, I think it'd be better to take two languages (either continue with another language in which you have qualifications or picking up a new one) rather than language and politics as you'd have an extra practical skill effectively which I can only imagine would be more attractive to employers.

    You can always explore politics independently and take politics modules within your languages

    Also, I don't know who told you politics is more attractive than languages as language proficiency as a real skill definitely has more prestige and is more sort after by international NGOs
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    (Original post by TheMouseyS)
    Personally, I think it'd be better to take two languages (either continue with another language in which you have qualifications or picking up a new one) rather than language and politics as you'd have an extra practical skill effectively which I can only imagine would be more attractive to employers.
    I don't think this is true. A lot of language students tell me they wish they had combined a language with another subject. French and Politics, German and Chemistry, Spanish and Economics... etc, gives you a larger skillset and more flexibility.
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    It was the Telegraph actually! But I don't trust their view on most subjects haha.

    Yeah, it's really a tough one. The problem for me is that my knowledge of politics is also quite vast - it's probably my greatest passion. This is a double-edged sword in that a. I'd get more value for money from my degree doing a second language as I have immense political knowledge. The degree is German and French - I got an A in A-level German but speak no French (it would be ab-inito) and French would be better from an NGO perspective (whereas as I mentioned, I already have immense political knowledge).

    I'm just slightly worried that as politics is my biggest passion in life, not having the politics degree "piece of paper" may preclude me from political related jobs - I don't necessarily want to just to languages and I certainly don't want to teach (what most of my language graduate peers have done).

    Any more insights very welcome!
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    (Original post by J_89)
    It was the Telegraph actually! But I don't trust their view on most subjects haha.

    Yeah, it's really a tough one. The problem for me is that my knowledge of politics is also quite vast - it's probably my greatest passion. This is a double-edged sword in that a. I'd get more value for money from my degree doing a second language as I have immense political knowledge. The degree is German and French - I got an A in A-level German but speak no French (it would be ab-inito) and French would be better from an NGO perspective (whereas as I mentioned, I already have immense political knowledge).

    I'm just slightly worried that as politics is my biggest passion in life, not having the politics degree "piece of paper" may preclude me from political related jobs - I don't necessarily want to just to languages and I certainly don't want to teach (what most of my language graduate peers have done).

    Any more insights very welcome!
    It might be possible to combine German, French and Politics in one degree. UCL's ESPS degree comes to mind; that degree lets you study two languages and politics. Very few universities do ab-initio French, although I believe you can take beginners French as a minor on the ESPS degree.
 
 
 
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