Department of Spanish & Portuguese 
Spanish Language Curriculum

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Careers in Foreign Languages


    Students majoring in the Humanities are particularly well-prepared for careers in all fields in which analysis, judgment, and argument are important. Humanities students have moved into business, the law, education, politics, public policy, academia, and journalism. Employers in all sectors are placing increasing emphasis on the recruitment of college graduates who can write and think. These skills are ultimately more important to many employers than a specific form of technical training, and it is these skills that are imparted most effectively in the School of Humanities. For students who leave the School with a solid grounding in critical analysis, research, and communication, the sky is the limit.

    The study of foreign languages and the associated fields of linguistics, literature, and civilization studies provide an excellent preparation for advanced study and for careers in many fields which now function on a global basis. While learning another language, students also learn much about the cultures in which that language is spoken, their history, their arts and crafts, their food and fashion, their rituals and forms of community, and their behavioral norms. Language and culture study goes hand-in-hand with many other disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, such as the arts, history, philosophy, anthropology, economics and politics. It leads directly to careers in secondary teaching in the public schools or at colleges and universities. Language study can also profitably be combined with other studies leading to graduate work in law, management and administration, with the assurance that the student will be able to enter into skilled discourse with colleagues in non-English-speaking areas of the world. More generally, the skills of careful reading and close analysis of texts that are acquired through the study of literature are instrumental in the practice of law, business, teaching, and many other careers. With careful planning, a major or minor program taken in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese may be easily combined with any other field of study, including a degree in business, a pre-med course, or a program in engineering, to enhance a student's career profile.

    Here are some of the jobs/careers where the study of a foreign language will come in especially helpful, -even though it may not be an explicit requirement:



textbook authors or editors

elementary teachers for bilingual programs

high school and special teachers for bilingual educational programs

educators in special commercial language schools (e.g. Berlitz)

university comparative literature departments 

university foreign language departments 

university linguistics departments 

university schools of education 

university teaching of English as a Second Language 

university foreign study offices 

overseas teaching for private corporations and diplomats' families 



hotel and resort staff and management 

restaurant staff and management 

travel agents 

airline flight attendants 

airport personnel 

foreign travel advisors 

tourist guides 



international teletype operators 

international telephone operators 

foreign news correspondents 

foreign news photographers 

"Voice of America" writers and editors 

translators of books, articles, and reviews 

advertising for ethnic or foreign markets 

film production and entertainment media 

simultaneous interpreters 

editors for university and other presses



Receptionists, secretaries, and sales personnel 

fashion buyers 

personnel managers 

public relations experts 

textbook representatives and salespeople 

business executives 

U.S. representatives for foreign companies 

international banking and finance 

international lawyers and patent attorneys 

income tax consultants and accountants in ethnic communities 

specialists for import/export firms 



Peace Corps workers, VISTA volunteers

diplomatic corps

court interpreters, U.S. translators and interpreters

bilingual staff in Federal Agencies (e.g. Social Security, Red Cross, etc.)

U.S. Postal Service

U.S. Customs agents

U.S. Naturalization Service agents



nursing in ethnic communities

law enforcement officers

public assistance interviewers

health services 

fire fighters

multilingual defense attorneys



translators of foreign publications in private and public libraries 

classifiers of foreign documents 

research librarians, library acquisition specialists



scientific research and translating 

technical liaison for U.S. businesses operating in a foreign country 


museum studies 

nursing and medicine in ethnic communities 

hospital management 

studying or practicing medicine overseas 

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Last Updated: September 11, 2013
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