Why study languages?

There's more to studying languages than just being able to order a pizza on holiday. Employers really value second or third languages.

In fact, a survey of 2,700 firms found that 9 out of 10 organisations felt that their businesses could benefit from employees with better language skills and half of UK SMEs agree that graduates who only speak English are at a disadvantage (British Academy research).

Languages give you a huge leg up for work in trade and the economy, world diplomacy, security and research. And students who study languages are better positioned to operate in our increasingly multilingual and multicultural world.

Find out more about studying French, German, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish as part of your Business or Humanities degree.

Top 5 reasons to study languages

  • Boost your employability - organisations value employees with an international outlook, a global mindset and an understanding of other cultures. Currently, a lack of foreign language skills is costing the UK annually up to £48 billion! Additionally, in order to expand trading and develop future markets across the globe, businesses need staff with language skills and intercultural awareness.
  • Improve your cognitive abilities and brain function - studies have shown that learning a language engages both sides of your brain. Not only can this improve your problem solving, multitasking and decision-making skills, but it may also prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
  • Discover new countries and cultures - whether you're looking to lead a jet-setting lifestyle or fully immerse yourself in another culture, you'll learn lots about how other societies live and gain new experiences of the world. An increased awareness of other cultures in comparison to your own is deeply enriching both personally and professionally. All students on degree courses with a language component have the opportunity to study for a year abroad.
  • Engage in foreign politics - the lack of language skills amongst British officials and the armed forces risks putting the UK at a competitive disadvantage in relation to national security and diplomacy. In fact, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has called for 'more skilled diplomats who are immersed in language and culture'.
  • Research opportunities - with 90% of the world's research conducted outside of the UK, language skills are at the heart of many global challenges from terrorism to international crime. Over 25% of all internet users access the web in English but Chinese speaking users are catching up at over 20% of total internet users.