Studying a language and understanding the cultural facets that underlie communication across cultures open the world to you. Aside from contributing to your MIT degree requirements, studying a language can deepen your appreciation of a personal hobby or family history; allow you to consider and understand the world around you in new words and frameworks; open communication to those who don’t share your native language; and create career avenues in your own country and around the world.
Global Languages is a flexible component of your MIT education, whether as a focus of study or to add value to your degree in a STEM field.
You can complete a HASS Concentration in any of Global Languages’ nine languages, whether you are starting your study at MIT or continuing from high school or self-study. With three or four classes to complete your concentration, you can check the HASS Concentration off your GIR to-do list while strengthening the global value of your MIT degree. For details on concentrating in a language, find more information on the Academic Programs page.
If you don’t want to stop after completing your concentration, it only takes three to four more subjects to add a minor in Global Languages to your MIT diploma! Minors, which can overlap with your HASS Concentration GIR, are available in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.
From academic year 2017 to 2021, more than 25% of all MIT undergraduates incorporated Global Languages into their studies at MIT. Join your peers and see how you can do the same!
Delve into the worlds, cultures, and histories that matter to you. Whether it be to read The Brothers Kharamazov in the original, join a fansub network for your favorite Korean drama or anime, or speak with your grandmother in Spanish about the town where she grew up, your language abilities allow you to participate—not just observe.
And language learning isn’t just about memorizing vocabulary. You will discover how the culture of a language or a country guides your communications with others, in your native and learned languages, and can shape your understanding of the world. The power to see and articulate the world around you with multiple lenses and languages will serve your successful interaction with new ideas, cultures, individuals, and challenges.
Employers are increasingly in need of multi-lingual employees to meet the demands of the global market. In the U.S., nearly one-third of employers reported a high dependency on multilingual employees, with more than half expecting continued growth in this need (ACTFL, 2019) and associated salary benefits for multi-lingual employees (AAAS, 2017). But the career benefits of your language study don’t stop at how long you can hold a conversation. The intercultural competencies gained through language study—communication in new contexts and cultures—are a growing demand in work environments where work teams are spread across the map.
As a future MIT graduate, you will tackle the world’s challenges through collaborations and partnerships spanning the globe, whether from a home office in San Francisco, engineering headquarters in Berlin, or a job site in São Paolo.
To see the global careers you can envision by having studied languages, check out international and intercultural opportunities at goglobal.mit.edu.
“Being able to converse with another person in their native language and enjoy their food and culture is just euphoric. The world is so big and wide and beautiful.”