Many students ask us “What can I do with a degree in Foreign Languages?” The answer is that foreign language skills can be used in a wide variety of fields from education to tourism to art to business and communications. Employers often seek job candidates with foreign language skills and the ability to relate to people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. A major or a minor in Foreign Languages provides students with these valuable skills. Here are a few examples of how students have used their languages in the “real world”.
Carlos Camelo graduated from Salem State in 2005 with a major in Political Science and minors in both Foreign Languages (French/Italian/Spanish) and Latin American Studies. He participated in the summer study abroad programs in both Spain and Québec. Upon graduating, Carlos was offered a job immediately and worked for several years as an international sales representative for Johnson & Johnson. Last year, Carlos decided to make a change and took a job with NBC Universal as a Sourcing Manager for World-Wide Telemundo, the Spanish-language television station. In this position, Carlos is able to use his language skills as well as the cross-cultural people skills he acquired in his Foreign languages classes as he travels around the world. When asked about the job, Carlos says, “I lead negotiations and contracts with all the vendors and services our company requires to operate. For example, I deal with advertising agencies preparing our creative content and media placement and the rate cards. I have to work with the special and entertainment departments supporting their world-wide specials like Miss Universe in Vietnam or the Olympics in China. Or just simply operations in Latin America. So that is why I have to travel so much!” Carlos loves this new job, and its travel perks. He also says, “I also love to meet with the celebrities and go to PR events. So next time you watch Telemundo think of me. I have actually been on camera a couple of times already!”
Stephanie Izzicupo graduated from Salem State with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Minor in French in 2007. She was awarded a fellowship from the French government to spend the year after graduation as an “Assistante d’anglais” in France, teaching English conversation classes to French high school students in Nancy, France. This year abroad, fully funded by the French government, gave Stephanie the chance to expand on the French skills she learned at Salem State and in Québec on the summer study abroad program. She says of the year abroad, “It was incredible! I met so many people and traveled all over Europe. I’m so glad I applied!” Upon return to the US this past summer, Stephanie landed a job as a bilingual secretary at the International School of Boston, a private K-12 school offering instruction in English and French. Stephanie is enjoying the job and says “I get the chance to use my French on a daily basis!” She is currently applying to graduate schools.
Antanas Meilus is a current undergraduate student studying Music and Italian. This past summer, he had the opportunity to tour Italy with the International Lyric Academy based in Rome and Viterbo, Italy. This opera company selects opera singers to travel around Italy and perform for Italian audiences, allowing Antanas to use his language skills to seize a great professional opportunity in his field. Antanas was selected to perform on opening night of the tour in Viterbo. He writes in his blog “It was a great show and very well received by press and the ‘full piazza’ we had. It was a great experience for me as an artist to sing a full role with a fully professional orchestra…The craziest part of the entire show that night was that it was broadcast on TV. I’m not sure where, when, or anything like that. I just know it happened apparently!” You can read more about the ups and downs of Antanas’s summer in Italy on his blog at antanasmeilus.com.