On Monday, the Office of Career Planning held a seminar in Hickman Boardroom on careers in foreign languages. While all Adrian College students were invited to attend, the event was especially popular with foreign language majors. The French Club sponsored the event.
Approximately 15 students were in attendance, most of which were language majors. Kellie Carnahan, assistant director of career planning, led the presentation and used her own experiences as a Spanish major to enhance the discussion.
First, Carnahan asked students to introduce themselves and tell everyone their language of choice. Then, she asked for everyone to talk about what they would like to do with their degree in said language. Students’ answers varied from translator to higher education.
It’s common for foreign language students to be questioned about their career choice. Sometimes, foreign language students themselves question what they can do with their degree. However, the presentation assured students that their particular set of language skills are important for today’s professional world.
“I feel that the workshop opened my eyes to careers outside the typical education and translator stereotypes,” said sophomore Derek Jackson, who is double majoring in English and Spanish.
Also, Carnahan explained how a liberal arts background strengthens a language degree.
Carnahan presented other career options that students may have never considered before. There are jobs for bilingual students available with banks, tourism companies, government agencies, healthcare organizations, museums, courts, and broadcasting and film companies, to name a few.
Postgraduate opportunities were also a topic. Language students have opportunities to apply for Fulbright scholarships, Rotary Ambassadorial scholarships and may even consider joining the Peace Corp.
Carnahan then shared current professions of alumni who graduated with degrees in a foreign language. German majors are working as principals, state troopers, and marketing directors. Spanish majors are employed in education, management, accounting, and social work. French majors have found positions as medical directors, pilots and travel coordinators.
Tips were offered for preparing to enter the working world. Carnahan encouraged students to study abroad, volunteer and find a supplemental area of study that complements their desired area of work.
“I thought the seminar was really helpful in seeing what types of jobs are available to language majors and how other areas of study can complement your language major depending on the job you want,” said junior Alexis Girou, who is a French major. “I know I want to work in the government with my foreign language degree in either interpretation or translation, however, after the seminar, even working for the FBI or the court system sounded interesting!”
The Office of Career Planning is available to assist students of all majors, not just foreign language majors with things like resumes, internships, employment opportunities and graduate school applications. Hours are Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening appointments are available by request. The Office of Career Planning is located in the Stanton Administration building.