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Foreign language skills are a great asset

education Updated: Jul 07, 2010 10:11 IST
Hindustan Times
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Prof Vibha Maurya, head, department of Germanic and Romance studies, University of Delhi, replies to a few frequently-asked questions about her field: What’s the scope in these four languages — French, German, Spanish and Italian (as mentioned on your website) today?

In today’s world, knowledge of a foreign language is considered an additional qualification and an asset of great importance for any job of international nature which involves correspondence/ interaction with multilingual partners. All the four languages — French, German, Italian and Spanish are spoken in the countries that are investing in India and also have projected expansion plans. Apart from this, since these languages are widely spoken (especially French and Spanish are national languages of many countries in Africa and Latin America, respectively) any person knowing these languages may find it easy to study further or work in those places without having to face linguistic barriers.

Other than Master’s and PhD in the language students study at the Bachelor’s level, what are the (career-oriented) allied disciplines in which students can do their Master’s/ postgraduation?
The BA (Hons) courses in these languages are as good as any other BA (Hons) programme done in the field of humanities or social sciences. The entire spectrum of allied subjects — history, sociology, political science or Hindi and English literatures — opens up new avenues before them, as also courses in media, film studies and fine arts. Many students often branch off to such different fields as MBA etc.

In addition to travel agencies, business process outsourcing units, multinational companies and schools/colleges, is there any new/emerging sector or industry which absorbs students trained in one of these four languages?
Persons who know a foreign language well can work in the banking sector, hotel management, airlines, tourism and international NGOs. As a large number of international schools are opening in India, school teachers are going to be in great demand soon.

A huge advantage of learning a foreign language is that it helps to widen one’s horizon and world view. It gives the opportunity to know other cultures, people and countries more closely and deeply. One can read their literature in originals, listen to their music and songs and understand them and thus enjoy all of that much more than when it is transmitted through the medium of another language. Learning, therefore, becomes an interesting and enjoyable fun activity.

How internationalised the world is that singers, artists, experts or academicians of one culture can be so comfortably accepted in other spaces and become so popular like Colombian singer Shakira who has sung the football world cup anthem WakaWaka!

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