Free Online Lectures and Courses for Languages

Students who study foreign languages gain access to the thrill of immersing themselves into the mindset, lifestyle and environment of a completely different culture. Very few college students get to experience such transformative and unique learning experiences. Language studies don’t just expose people to new words – it also connects people over food, visual art, politics, poetry and media.
Language studies majors often find themselves outside their comfort zones, as they work toward speech and reading proficiency or fluency. They can find jobs with a wide range of tourism, research, retail and academic employers as instructors, interpreters or translators. Many students also get opportunities during college to study abroad, allowing them to apply their language skills in a realistic setting.

Sample Courses

Language degree programs will almost always start students with foundational curricula to introduce them to basic vocabulary and grammar concepts. Typically, once undergraduates proceed through the first two years of a language, they will get to take specialty classes, which focus on literature, culture and foreign politics. Many language departments promote an immersive teaching style, encouraging classes to speak only in the foreign language during class, so that students can adjust to new ways of speaking and thinking.
Once students move on to the higher undergraduate and graduate levels, they will use their language expertise to read prominent foreign literature, host discussions, host community outreach events and learn vocabulary for specific scenarios (such as Mandarin for business use). Graduate students often gain exposure to linguistic courses, which analyze a language from its phonetic and written roots.
Students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels are often encouraged to pursue study abroad opportunities, which allow them to take unique localized courses about a location’s artwork, culture and politics. Study abroad instructors tend to take advantage of resources, such as prominent art galleries and museums, to help immerse students in a new culture during their study abroad adventures. These experiences also offer students some degree of immersion, allowing students to feel out everyday life in a foreign country.

Possible Specializations

Since new languages require hundreds of hours to learn, most colleges do not offer specializations at the undergraduate level. Students can easily spend two to four years of their undergraduate career simply learning the core of how to read and speak a new language. However, once students advance to the graduate level, they can explore languages in conjunction with business administration, comparative literature or applied linguistics, to name just a few focuses.

Degree Types

Bachelor’s

Since learning a language requires a major time investment, it is extremely rare to find degree types shorter than a four-year degree program dedicated to a foreign language. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree will most likely spend all four years gaining proficiency in a new language. Scholars can advance their speaking and reading abilities by surrounding themselves with texts, television shows, movies and audio in the new language. Bachelor’s degree holders can often use their new language skills in retail settings, language instruction schools, tourism centers and in marketing departments.

Master’s

This graduate degree generally takes one to two years to complete after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Master’s students will reach new levels of language fluency, which can help them earn employment as an interpreter or translator within various industries. Master’s students can also explore teaching at the collegiate level by applying to a Ph.D. program.

Ph.D.

Students who progress to a doctorate degree will often spend their time conducting research, sometimes abroad, into a linguistic or literary aspect of a foreign language. At this point, students should be fluent in the foreign language. Those who graduate with a Ph.D. can advance within interpretation and translation companies or teach at the collegiate level.
Many different language departments have their own dedicated honors and professional societies. For example, students studying German might want to consider a Delta Phi Alpha membership, which provides merit-based scholarship opportunities to applicants who wish to fund their studies. Professional societies, such as the Chinese Language Teachers Association, helps instructors fluent in Chinese find job opportunities, networking contacts and continued education.

Ideal Candidates for Language Studies

Learning a foreign language and then engaging others in conversation can take students out of their comfort zone. Ideal language studies candidates are flexible and comfortable with change. These are especially useful traits to have while studying abroad, since students might have to rely on their new vocabulary to navigate around an unfamiliar region.
Language scholars should have a certain degree of patience to improve their speaking proficiency. Adult learners rely heavily on memorization in order to learn foreign words – this means a lot of repetitive practice. Students that study Japanese typically fill notebooks with hiragana, katakana and kanji. Those without patience can quickly grow bored and exasperated with language studies.
Individuals who are driven by curiosity can find success within language studies. Interest in another culture can drive students through long text translations and into new areas within a foreign country. This curiosity can be applied in the classroom, for those who decide to eventually teach language. A person’s passion for learning about a culture can be contagious, and help motivate a classroom to master the curricula.

Career Pathways

Those who earn an undergraduate degree in a foreign language have several opportunities available within academic, retail, tourism, research and tech industries. Interpreters and translatorsmake an average of $45,430 a year, or $21.84 an hour. The job outlook for these professionals is extremely favorable, with a growth rate of 46% before the year 2022. Students should keep in mind that they will most likely need to pass a certification exam provided by agencies like the American Translators Society or the U.S. Department of State in order to serve as an interpreter or translator.

Graduate students can pursue language teaching jobs at immersion schools or faculty positions at a college. Postsecondary foreign language teachers make an average of $66,730 annually. These professionals might also be able to find teaching opportunities abroad, especially if they can instruct adults on industry-specific vocabularies, such as business and trade.

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Languages Journals & Trade Magazines

  • Journals

    • Foreign Language Annals

      FLA is the journal of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and since its beginning in 1967 has been a repository of peer reviewed scholarship four times per year.

    • Journal of African Languages and Linguistics

      The journal is peer reviewed and is a premier source of scholarship in all aspects of African language study.

    • Journal of Language Contact

      A peer reviewed journal on "language contact, language use and language change" as they pertain to the empirical and theoretical realms.

    • Journal of Languages and Culture

      This is an open access journal published monthly and includes articles on topics such as political anthropology, culture change, comparative study of race and literary criticism.

    • Language

      The official journal of the Linguistic Society of America is published quarterly featuring articles, short reports and book reviews on all aspects of linguistics, especially theoretical linguistics.

    • Modern Language Review

      This is the flagship journal of the Modern Humanities Research Association and is one of the oldest in the field, published uninterrupted since 1905.

  • Trade Magazines

    • Babel

      This magazine deals with language and linguistics and is edited by Professors Lesley Jefferies and Dan McIntyre. And while it is aimed at a general audience ...

    • Eli Magazines

      More than one magazine, Eli is a set of content published in seven languages covering news items and current events that students are not normally exposed to ...

    • Language Magazine

      Originally published as American Language Review in 1997, this publication became the monthly publication, Language Magazine. It's now popular with government ...

    • The Interpreter

      The online publication for St. Andrews Modern Language program, one of the field's most prestigious, features editors who are native speakers of German ...

Languages Grants & Scholarships

  • Grants

    • Global Studies Grant for Student Travel and Study Abroad

      Deadline: July 1st

      Award Amount: $1,000

      This grant is for global study abroad in the furtherance of foreign language training and other academic studies and is open to applicants that are U.S. citizens currently enrolled as full-time ...

  • Scholarships

    • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

      Deadline: March 4th

      Award Amount: $5,000

      This scholarship is for U.S. undergrads in need of financial assistance in order to be able to participate in a study abroad program, including students who ...

    • Bridge Linguatec Scholarship

      Deadline: March 31st

      Award Amount: $830

      Eligible candidates for this award must be current ASTFL members and must have a high level of interest and motivation and must blog about their experience.

    • Chiara Maria Levin Study Abroad Scholarship

      Deadline: March 4th

      Award Amount: $1,000

      This scholarship is for University of Michigan, Ann Arbor students that declared concentrations or minors in the Romance Languages who wish to study abroad and ...

    • Diversity Abroad

      Deadline: May 1st

      Award Amount: $1,500

      This scholarship is offered in partnership with CET for students who will be participating in a CET semester abroad in the fall of 2014 and spring of 2015 and ...

    • Foundation for Global Scholars

      Deadline: May 16th

      Award Amount: $2,500

      Founders Cynthia Banks and Shelia Houston understood first hand how valuable the study abroad experience can be, prompting them to create this scholarship.

    • Jim & Anna Hyonjoo Lint Scholarship

      Deadline: July 31st

      Award Amount: $1,500

      This program is provided to assist in the furtherance of education in the areas of international affairs, counterintelligence and national security with the ...

    • Student Translation Award

      Deadline: June 29th

      Award Amount: $1,000

      The ATA awards this scholarship to students who are attending an accredited college or university with preference given to student who are now or have been ...

    • The Cemanahuac Educational Community Scholarship

      Deadline: Rolling

      Award Amount: $1,100

      This scholarship is available to upperclassmen and graduate students who have the intention of becoming Spanish teachers, as well as early career Spanish ...

    • Walter Jensen Scholarship for Study Abroad

      Deadline: June 29th

      Award Amount: $1,000

      Eligible applicants are students who wish to study abroad and plan on becoming a teacher of French and are intended to allow a deserving student the ...

    • Walter Jensen Scholarship for Study Abroad

      Deadline: March 15th

      Award Amount: $2,000

      Eligible applicants are students who wish to study abroad and plan on becoming a teacher of French and are intended to allow a deserving student the ...

Languages Internships

  • Central Intelligence Agency

    Deadline: N/A

    Interns assist Open Source Officers gathering and analyzing publicly available information in the foreign arena where Open Source Officers use their foreign language skills to make assessments.

  • Chinese Studies & Internship in Shanghai

    Deadline: N/A

    Students interested in this internship must enroll in Chinese language classes which include group and one on one practice for 88 total hours as well as a course on Issues in the Chinese Workplace.

  • Cultural Vistas

    Deadline: January 31st

    This is a summer internship program in Germany that provides an outstanding opportunity for individuals to gain international work skills and improve their German language proficiency.

  • FBI Middle Eastern Foreign Language Honors Internship Program

    Deadline: N/A

    This is a highly competitive internship opportunity that is only open to individuals with strong academic credentials and proficiency in one or more of the prevalent Middle Eastern languages.

  • NSA

    Deadline: September 1st – November 15th

    The National Security Agency offers foreign language students the opportunity to apprentice under senior NSA language analysts.

  • Richard T. Newman Family Fund for Language Study Internship

    Deadline: March 3rd

    Carleton College provides a grant that, when combined with summer wages, may not exceed $5,000 for foreign language students who wish to pursue an overseas internship.

  • Spanish Language Studies & Community Internship

    Deadline: N/A

    This internship requires at least a 2.5 GPA and foreign language proficiency of low intermediate or above. Low intermediate means at least one year of language courses completed at the college level.

  • U.S. Embassy in Berlin

    Deadline: N/A

    This opportunity is offered by the US Commercial Service Germany at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and consulates in Duesseldorf, Frankfort and Munich where the service assists U.S. companies.

  • United Nations Language Internship

    Deadline: N/A

    The United Nations Department for General Assembly and Conference Management provides internship opportunities for students who aspire to work in the language professions.

Languages Student & Professional Organizations

  • Professional Organizations

    • American Association for Applied Linguistics

      Since 1977 the association has focused on promoting principled approaches to language related concerns including education, acquisition and loss, bilingualism, discourse, analysis and others.

    • American Association of Teachers of French

      With a history of more than 100 years, this association is the country's largest body of French teachers. With nearly 10,000 members, they are committed to the dissemination of the French language.

    • American Association of Teachers of German

      More than 4,000 members strong, the AATG represents teachers of German at all levels, with members in all 50 states and almost 20 countries around the world.

    • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

      The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages is dedicated to improving education models for foreign languages and refining member teachers approach to their own classrooms.

    • Joint National Committee for Languages

      This committee is an informal coalition of eight national language teaching associations, with more than 60 members representing state, regional and national groups.

    • Linguistic Society of America

      One of the oldest organizations of its type, the society was founded for the purpose of advancing the study of language by disseminating linguistic scholarship to professional and general audiences.

    • Modern Language Association

      The associations 30,000 members are spread across more than 100 countries and are committed to the study of English, other modern languages and comparative literature.

    • National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages

      The council is comprised of teachers of Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Russian and many other languages that are internationally important yet largely unfamiliar to Americans.