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Modern Languages Careers & Internships

Types of Careers for Language Majors

When recent graduates can employ their marketable skills in the pursuit of an individual passion, they greatly enhance their chances for success, satisfaction, and lifelong rewards.

  • Many students pursue careers in journalism, political science, education, sociology, international studies, business, government, and social services.
  • Many enter master's or doctoral programs and go on to academic positions at universities.
  • Others attend law school or medical school.
  • Some start their career with volunteer service abroad with organizations such as the Peace Corps.

Modern languages graduates are not limited to a specific career track. The ability to think analytically, communicate clearly, and understand people from diverse cultural backgrounds has served graduates well in a wide range of professions. Ohio University language majors discover that current job listings call for the types of abilities they have acquired through their liberal arts education: communication skills, analytical skills, interpersonal skills, a capacity for problem solving, and the ability to learn quickly.  Many job listings include foreign language proficiency as a desirable or necessary tool.

In consultation with a faculty adviser and with the help of Ohio University's Center for Advising, Career and Experiential Learning, students approaching graduation can identify companies and organizations offering job opportunities that correspond to the student’s personal interests. 

Students who combine a major in Modern Languages with a secondary discipline such as journalism, political science, education, sociology, international studies, or business, and then seek employment in print or broadcast media, government, teaching, social services, or industry. These students possess career-specific skills in addition to general knowledge and language proficiency. Ohio University’s curriculum offers the flexibility necessary to complete a double major in four years.

Internships

Many of our majors acquire additional training prior to seeking employment. Some pursue internships, either in the United States or abroad, in which they employ their foreign language skills in professional capacity while earning OHIO credit.  

Where Can You Work?

  • Government
  • Translation/Interpretation
  • Language Analysis
  • Linguistics
  • Diplomacy
  • Civil Service
  • Foreign Service
  • Immigration/Naturalization
  • Customs
  • Intelligence
  • Security and Protection
  • Law Enforcement
  • Journalism/Broadcasting

Government

  • Federal government overseas aid agencies, including Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including FBI, CIA, and DEA
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Homeland Security, including, Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • U.S. Department of Defense, including U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard
  • National Security Agency
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Non-profit organizations such as Peace Corps, VISTA, Americorps
  • Library of Congress
  • Voice of America
  • U.S. District Courts
  • United Nations

Strategies: The government is one of the largest employers of people with foreign language skills. Consider studying a critical need language for the greatest number of opportunities. Complete an internship with a federal agency and maintain a high GPA to be a more competitive candidate. Learn government job application procedures. Plan to apply early and inquire frequently about job vacancies. Review special hiring authorizations to be hired and to advance more quickly. Participate in campus organizations and activities that promote interaction with international students. Attend a specialized school that teaches foreign languages for additional training. Live abroad and gain knowledge of politics and economics to prepare for a career in this field. Increase knowledge of geography, history, and international affairs. Join the armed forces as a way to get experience. Consider earning  

Industry and Commerce

  • Translation/Interpretation
  • Banking/Finance
  • Sales
  • Customer Services
  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics, Transportation and Supply Chain Management
  • Engineering/Technical
  • Computer and Software Services
  • Research
  • Banks and Financial Institutions
  • Import/Export Companies
  • International Companies, including foreign firms operating in the United States and U.S. firms operating in foreign countries
  • Manufacturers, including automobile
  • Retail 
  • Environmental Firms
  • Consulting Agencies

Strategies: If you're interested in industry and commerce, supplement your coursework with business classes or earn a business minor. Develop international competency by living and working abroad and by interacting with international students on campus. Get involved in student organizations and seek leadership roles. Research which companies do business with the countries in which your language of study is spoken.