Why Study Foreign Languages?

Infographic depicting best paying liberal arts majors. Sociology $36,000. Psychology $38,000.  History $41,000. Foreign Languages and Literature $47,000.

It Sets You Up For Career Success.

Foreign language gives you an edge in job markets and salaries. In fact, Foreign Language and Literature majors average the highest salaries among the liberal arts, where top employers are the education and health and social services sectors. The Economist notes multilingual graduates average up to $125,000 more than monolingual peers.

The School’s alumni work in fields such as medicine, public relations, the Foreign Service, and the Peace Corps. UIC’s Office of Career Services helps you capitalize on your multilingual skills in job and internship applications.

It Increases Your Cognitive Abilities Across Subjects.

When you learn a foreign language you find the benefits spill over into your engineering, pre-health and political science courses, too. Studies show multilingual students are able to better hypothesize in science and multi-task, and they have longer attention spans. Second language learners are even shown to perform higher on state standardized tests and the SAT and ACT

Each year 300-plus UIC students find the benefits of bilingualism so compelling they round out business, history, and other majors through second majors and minors in the School. This is in addition to the 140 students whose primary major is in the School.

It Enhances Perspective Taking, A Crucial Skill In English, Multilingual Or Global Contexts.

Foreign language and culture learners show an increased ability to consider many perspectives and be flexible thinkers. These skills directly translate to your life after school, whether you become a salesperson connecting with a client or a decision maker considering several sides. The National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook Survey ranks two qualities which require strong perspective taking – leadership (#1) and the ability to work in a team (#2) – among the top skills employers are seeking. 

top skills that employers look for. Verbal communication 69%. Problem-solving 70%. Written communication 70%. Ability to work in a team 79%. Leadership 80%.

It Makes You A Better Verbal And Written Communicator.

Studying a foreign language doesn’t just improve your writing and speaking in that language; it improves English skills by drawing “your focus to the mechanics of language.” Second language learners must be attentive listeners and carry this skill over to their daily activities, too. Finally, you use the perception skills mentioned to communicate better verbally. That same job outlook survey ranks written (#3) and verbal (#5) communication in the top five skills employers want.

The School’s Language and Writing Studio can help you with tutoring or writing assistance. The Sandi Port Errant Language and Culture Learning Center hosts fun groups with conversation hours, films, and lectures to practice speaking. 


We Offer Skilled Teaching In Small Classrooms.

The School’s departments offer many small classes designed for peer interaction and one-on-one attention from your professors. Faculty such as Kim Potowski and Anna Szawara serve as Scholars in UIC’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching – Learning Communities (TLC), and many others have received teaching and mentoring awards. Each faculty member has a real passion for helping you meet your goals.

Hispanic Studies professor Margarita Saona says, “It is really rewarding to see students' faces light-up when they suddenly understand something they had not noticed before.”

student in class taking notes