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Page Index: Spanish

Academic Information:

What is Foreign Language/Spanish?

Language plays a unique role in capturing the breadth of human diversity. We are constantly amazed by the variety of human thought, culture, society, and literature expressed in many thousands of languages around the world. We can find out what people think only through their language. We can find out what they thought in the past only if we read their written records. We can tell future generations about ourselves only if we speak or write to them.

Studying a foreign language can improve your cognitive and critical thinking abilities. Recent surveys indicate that more than 80 agencies of the federal government rely on professionals with intermediate to high-level competence in foreign languages. Foreign language study provides the ability to gain an understanding of the cultures of US trading partners. American multinational corporations and nongovernmental organizations need people with foreign language abilities. U.S. ability to compete effectively in global markets means that more and more businesses deal with companies in other countries. They need employees who can communicate in foreign languages and understand other cultures. An employer will see you as a bridge to new clients if you know their language.

Career Information

Possible/Typical Job Titles

Foreign languages help prepare you to work in many types of jobs. For example, you may want to major in a particular foreign language and become certified to teach. This would enable you to take a job either teaching that foreign language, teaching English as a foreign language, or teaching in a bilingual setting. Combining languages with the study of business can help prepare the student for jobs in foreign commerce, including banking, marketing, import-export, purchasing, finance, advertising, consulting, etc. Included among the numerous professions in which a knowledge of foreign languages can be helpful are the following: government service, social work, architecture, engineering, journalism, public relations, library service, archaeology, philosophy, medicine, the travel industry, telecommunications, music, theater, and research scholarship.


  • Economist
  • Insurance adjuster
  • Technical writer, corporate publications
  • International marketing analyst
  • District sales manager
  • Staff human relations training coordinator
  • Management consultant
  • Customer support specialist
  • *Patent attorney
  • Technical translator
  • Overseas representative
  • Travel planner
  • Bank administrator
  • Hotel manager

Government/Public Sector

  • Volunteer recruiter, Peace Corps
  • *Social science analyst
  • International education specialist,
  • Agency for International Development
  • *Securities examiner
  • Criminologist
  • Mediator trainee
  • Translator/interpreter
  • Customs inspector
  • Import specialist
  • International relations officer,
  • Commerce Department
  • National Security Agency linguist/analyst
  • Foreign Service officer, Department of State

Health/Human Services

  • Director, health and human resources
  • *International health care systems analyst
  • *Counseling psychologist
  • *Psychiatrist
  • *Physician
  • Cataloger
  • Laboratory technician
  • *Science information research specialist
  • *Social worker
  • Director, international airport visitors center
  • Youth program leader
  • *Bioengineer


  • Exchange student program coordinator
  • Conservator
  • Teacher
  • *Professor
  • *Librarian
  • *Guidance counselor
  • *Intellectual properties attorney
  • Coordinator, cultural arts center
  • Publisher, foreign language books
  • *Foreign film distributor
  • Guidebook writer
  • Abstractor
  • Editor of foreign publications


  • Announcer (radio, TV)
  • Booking agent
  • Road manager
  • International Trade economist
  • Translator, computer
  • Immigration inspector
  • Intelligence specialist
  • Tour guide
  • Foreign language translator
  • Special agent/FBI
  • Training instructor
  • Foreign information officer
  • Foreign tax accountant
  • Employment interviewer
  • Language researcher
  • Interpreter
  • Anthropologist
  • Customs inspector
  • International broadcaster
  • Case worker
  • Writer/technical publications
  • News writer/foreign languages
  • International Relations spec.
  • Interviewer & claims adjuster
  • Foreign exch. program dir.
  • Community organization worker
  • Manager, Industrial development
  • Teacher/second language
  • Manager, World Trade
  • Flight attendant
  • Foreign student advisor
  • Importer/exporter

*Denotes need for additional education.

Typical Places of Employment

  • Airports
  • Government agencies:
  • Public relations firms
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Hotel chains
  • Consumer Affairs Office
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Vista
  • Investment firms
  • Foreign Service Dept.
  • United Nations
  • Fed. Communications
  • Air, bus, and rail lines
  • Peace Corps
  • News bureaus
  • Commerce Dept.
  • Visitors & convention bureaus
  • National Archives
  • Public service organizations
  • Agency of International Dep't.
  • Import/export companies
  • Education Dept.
  • Travel agencies
  • Civil Service Commission
  • Advertising dept. & agencies
  • Immigration & Nat. service
  • Banks/savings & commercial
  • Library of Congress

Required Skills and Abilities

  • Teaching, explaining
  • Enlightening, guiding
  • Helping
  • Understanding
  • Listening skills
  • Compiling/recording data
  • Evaluating results
  • Collaborating as part of a team
  • Determining the needs of others
  • Acknowledging value systems
  • Listening carefully
  • Interviewing non-judgmentally
  • Designing instruments
  • Reporting and editing
  • Establishing hypotheses
  • Reading for content and structure
  • Working with research subjects
  • Communicating between cultures
  • Understanding cultural diversity
  • Assessing needs
  • Adapting to other cultures
  • Selecting & training
  • Informing, organizing
  • Solving problems, leading discussions
  • Ability to empathize
  • Speaking to groups
  • Reading/writing another language
  • Clarifying ideas
  • Writing clearly
  • Understanding historical language change
  • Explaining complex concepts
  • Reading critically
  • Interpreting data
  • Evaluating information
  • Evaluating evidence
  • Comparing translations interpretations
  • Gathering information
  • Working with original sources in many fields
  • Organizing materials/information
  • Summarizing ideas
  • Weighing values

Alumni Resources

(Listed below are examples of SU Alumni and their Jobs in this major-For more alumni resources, go to Mentor Network)





Matthew Nuzzi 2004 Technical Examiner Instructor Social Security Administrati
Elinor (Betsy) Lampo 2008 Spanish Teacher St. Mary's County Public Schools
Andrew Hanson 2003 Company Developement Manager Osprey Property
Elenna Christake Sayers 2002 Market Researcher Battelle Memorial Institute

Related Links: Further Explore this Career Field

Professional Associations:

Foreign Language Associations (links to associations)

American Translators Association

Modern Language Association

American Association for Applied Linguistics

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

Other Career-Related Links:

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