Universität Innsbruck
March 4, 2019

The current job market and economic climate in the UK means that it is increasingly hard to get a good, well-paid job which will last throughout the majority of your working life. This, and the fact that the UK is statistically the worst at learning languages – meaning the skill is highly in demand – results in language proficiency being a beneficial and competitive qualification to have.

There are a huge amount of university courses which allow you to study languages in different ways – with a focus either on the culture and societies the language roots itself in, or linguists and the origins of the language. Different courses at different universities will also focus more on different skills – speaking, writing, reading, listening and understanding, translation and grammar. This means that it is worth taking the time to understand what every particular university focuses in on in their courses, as every language degree is different, unlike for example every medicine degree, as it is required that all medical students learn the same things. What may also differ are the assessment types and how the degree is structured – for example whether the year abroad (which is almost always compulsory within any language degree) forms part of the overall qualification or if it is simply an experience to enhance the tested parts of the course. Studying a language is much more open to interpretation and fluid than many other subjects you may find.

Additionally many universities offer languages as part of dual degree, meaning you can study a language alongside another subject, such as law, history, English literature or geography, to name a few examples. Every university offers different options as regards to this. Many universities also offer degrees where you study 2 or 3 languages, or even where you can start with one or 2 languages, and then add another, lesser known one, such as Portuguese, Russian or Dutch. Or possibly start a language from scratch meaning you begin a degree in French and German which you have A levels in, and start learning Spanish as a beginner and qualify with 3 languages as part of your degree. There is also the option of doing more specific degrees such as linguists or translation. As you can see there are a wealth of options and with these comes an understanding of worldwide cultures and other subjects.

The study and learning of a language is essentially never over, there are always new skills to develop and new phrases and dialects to understand. That’s what makes the journey towards fluency so interesting – languages are essentially a habit, a social science, supporting a way of life different to what we may be used to. Attempting to understand the way a different society or culture operates and functions is essential in an increasingly connected and international world.

Another point which is important to understand is that unlike schools or colleges, universities are institutions of learning at the highest level, with professors completing their research out of them and events for academics constantly taking place within them. They are not simply a place where students go to get a qualification, deciding whether this type of environment – which can be eye opening and inspiring – is right for you is another decision you will have to make. There are many non-academic ways of learning languages, some of which can be much easier and useful, for example working abroad for the summer or taking part in an exchange programme.

People who have a qualification in a language earn around 20%-35% more than their colleagues in any chosen field of work. The common misconception that learning a language won’t help you achieve your dream of becoming a solider or football player is simply false. The army is always in need of interpreters or translators during it’s work and professional sports players play all over the world and sometimes for foreign countries, their lives are made much easier if they can speak another language.

Learning a language will increase your brain activity, make the study of other subjects easier and amongst many others things – make life much easier when it comes to finding a job. As for within a job, whenever a task which requires a language needs doing, having the qualification will ensure you are offered it, and this can lead to promotions and pay rises.

Languages can lead you into a variety of different jobs such as being a translator, teacher, interpreter, writer, manager, liaison officer or researcher for example. Languages can also help you enter any field of work as a secondary skill. For example, a legal correspondent for a foreign company, a civil servant working for the foreign office, a digital marketer within an international community, a city banker with foreign investments, a UN worker, an international chef, a historian, the list goes on. This applies to jobs both based only within the UK, those with an international outlook, and those based abroad.

Jetzt sprechen wir ein bisschen über den deutschen Arbeitsmarkt. Die deutsche Wirtschaft ist eine der stärksten in Europa. Aus diesem Grund ziehen viele Fremde nach Deutschland. Business und Investitionen sind sehr frei, aber auch der Konsumenten – und Datenschutz wird hochgehalten. Deutschland ist auch die einflussreichste Nation in der EU. Laut den Medien entsteht in Brandenburg und Berlin alle acht Minuten ein neuer Job. Auch im Dezember ist die Zahl der Arbeitslosen auf ein Rekordtief gefallen. Aber die Zahl der Flüchtlinge die jetzt in Deutschland Asyl gefunden haben macht Probleme; drei von vier Flüchtlingen haben keine Ausbildung vorzuweisen. Ein Viertel hat keine oder nur eine Grundschule besucht. Nur 40 Prozent gingen auf eine weiterführende Schule. Der größte Teil der Flüchtlinge hätte also selbst dann große Probleme auf dem deutschen Arbeitsmarkt, wenn es keine Sprachbarrieren geben würde. Aber dieses Jahr haben 95000 mehr als letztes Jahr einen Job gefunden. Fast jedes Jahr wächst der deutsche Arbeitsmarkt und dies hat auch einen Grund; Deutschland produziert einige der besten Produkte der Welt.

Bis nächstes Mal,

Hannah

 

Current and future study and employment

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