University courses: are modern languages still important?
After it was announced to current Modern Languages students at Nottingham Trent University that the courses would be pausing recruitment for 2020 entry, it has since raised the question, are languages still necessary for young people to learn?
As a current Spanish student, I cannot stress the importance of learning a language strongly enough. Given the country's current political climate, I have always seen languages as an increasing necessity rather than something that is decreasing in graduate value.
Nottingham Trent's reason for pausing applications on their Modern Languages courses was due to a lack of interest and a changing environment of graduate employment and job availabilities. This can include the increasing accuracy of machine translators, which therefore decreases the need for human translators, which is a field that many language graduates will eventually progress into.
View this post on Instagram
I need to work on my Korean, so of course I’m getting board books from the foreign language section the children’s library. . Baby books + @duolingo = fluent by December, right? . The answer is no, definitely not, but we’re going for #progressnotperfection ♥️ . . . . #learningkorean #hangul #boardbooks #babybooks #library #naegachoahanunkusunddaekoorddaekoorkong #amlearning #alwayslearning #korean #hangook #duolingo #languagelearning #learningalanguage
However, when I have approached people regarding this situation, many are of the idea that a lot of language graduates decide to take a year out after university or visit a country relevant to the language they have been studying. This could alter a University's statistics in regards to graduate employment, whilst still being a positive experience for graduates.
Whilst figures nationally for language courses have generally shown a decrease, languages such as Mandarin Chinese have shown a buck in this trend and have alternatively increased in popularity in recent years.
So, why languages?
Languages are a key trait that employers look for when they hire new recruits for a wide range of reasons. Not only do language graduates have the ability to converse and communicate with a wider percentage of a global community, but the ability to learn one foreign language increases your ability to learn a second, and makes you highly adaptable in a multitude of situations.
As well as this, language graduates don't only study the language as part of their course, but will also gain skills related to cultural awareness, and may even have studied or worked abroad as part of a placement, as I did, which is always a nice addition to have. Not only is it a fascinating bonus to encourage conversation, but the experience also helped improve my self-confidence, not to mention my language skills, massively.
View this post on Instagram
German speakers, rejoice!⠀ ⠀ German has overtaken French as the language most sought-after by employers in Britain, according to new research.⠀ ⠀ A study published by global recruitment site Indeed found that the number of jobs requiring German language skills rose by more than 10% over the last three years. Meanwhile, Chinese (which included both Mandarin and Cantonese) rose from the fifth most-required language skill to the third.⠀ ⠀ Indeed analyzed the requirements in millions of job advertisements posted on its website to reach the figures, which is searched by more than 250 million people per month.⠀ ⠀ Click the link in our bio to find out more about the research on :cnbcmakeit.⠀ •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ #graphic #didyouknow #language #languages #languagelearning #languagelover #languageschool #german #germanlanguage #french #frenchlanguage #chinese #chineselanguage #mandarin #cantonese #spanish #spanishspeaking #spanishlanguage #dutch #polish #japanese #russian #arabic #germany #france #china #spain #italian #learninglanguages #learningalanguage
Whilst Nottingham Trent University has only 'paused' applications on their language courses, other UK universities have elected to abolish their language degrees entirely. This includes the University of Hull who opted to close their languages department earlier this year.
Learning a language is the key to not becoming cut off as a nation, as well as developing transferable skills that employers are searching for, and abolishing these degrees will only limit the potential of future employees.