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What can I do with a language degree?

What can I do with a language degree?So you think you have to move abroad to find a career in languages? Think again! A language degree can open doors to a range of careers right on your doorstep. Read on to find out more.

Studying languages teaches you more than just how to communicate in another tongue.

The skills you gain from your course, such as presenting, team working, researching and structuring an argument, lend themselves to careers in a range of sectors.

Whether it’s working for MI5, helping tourists or working for an international company, you don’t have to move abroad to find a career that will let you use what you’ve learned.

Check out the ideas below for inspiration on where a modern languages degree can take you.

Work with refugees, asylum seekers or the homeless

Charities and non-governmental organisations working with vulnerable refugees, asylum seekers or homeless people need foreign language speakers to communicate with their core clients.

People who can speak French, Spanish or Eastern European languages such as Polish are in high demand.

The types of jobs you could do include a case worker, providing for the needs of specific clients and finding them accommodation and work, customer services assistant taking calls from clients, teaching English as a foreign language or doing any supporting role in a homeless hostel.

Train to teach English as a foreign language with TEFL

Check out the charities directory to find out about organizations working with refugees and homeless people.

Join the police

Police forces in areas where there are large numbers of speakers of foreign languages are increasingly recruiting staff with language skills to help forge stronger community links.

Search all UK Police Forces to find a job

Become a spy!

Want to help protect the nation against potential terrorist threats? MI5’s language specialists translate and interpret vital intelligence to help keep the country safe from attack.

As a language specialist you would listen to and interpret a variety of spoken communications. The types of languages required include Pashto, Somali, Swahili, Sylheti, Bengali, Gujarati, Kurdish Sorani, Iraqi Arabic, Gulf States Arabic or Syrian as well as English or course!

Work for MI5

Journalism and media

Many UK-based publications specialising in areas like finance require journalists to communicate with industries and experts abroad.

Having language skills is a distinct advantage and sometimes expected of applicants for roles with media companies, such as Bloomberg.

In the more multi-cultural areas of the UK, communities will have media in their own language, requiring people to write, film, edit or produce work in that language.

Interactive media also lends itself to speakers of foreign languages, needing people to subtitle, dub and edit versions into specific languages.


Skillset the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries.

Travel and tourism

With the weak pound, travelling to the UK has never been more attractive. The result is that opportunities to work in the travel and tourism industry are numerous.

You could work for an airline, rail or bus company, for a travel agency, hotel or even for a tour company. The types of jobs vary hugely, from writing literature for websites or guidebooks, to giving tours, customer services at airports and management roles.

You’re more likely to find jobs like these near major tourist attractions, ports or international airports.

Check out the for more graduate jobs in travel and tourism.

Check out Prospects for more graduate jobs in travel and tourism.

Work for The London Underground which is starting to recruit more staff with foreign language skills.

Business services

With the growth in technology, UK based businesses are increasingly working with international clients.

From market research to headhunting, management and consultancy, there are thousands of firms for which staff with excellent foreign languages skills are crucial.

Visit the Market Research Society

Or check out any reliable job website such as Monster or Guardian Jobs

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