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Study languages abroad

An in-depth guide to studying languages as an international student.

Languages degrees abroad

Languages degrees allow you to develop important skills like translation, interpretation and linguistics. Many universities refer to these programs as modern languages, and you can also learn about the history and culture of different countries and their languages.

As new technologies continue to make the world smaller, the ability to communicate across national and cultural borders becomes more vital. Not only does the study of language improve communication, but it also helps us understand the cultural and historical contexts that influence how we live.

By studying languages abroad you have the opportunity to experience new cultures that could support your studies. Learning to speak the native tongue when studying abroad is an important part of settling into your environment, something that should come naturally to a languages student.

Languages program structure

Languages and modern language degrees are available to study at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in countries all over the world. Most bachelor’s programs let you study up to three languages, and you can earn a BA after three or four years of studying. If you study in the US, you can choose languages as a major subject as part of a liberal arts education.

Some universities offer languages as a single-honors program, or a joint-honors program alongside another subject like cultural studies, business or history. At postgraduate level you can study languages as an MA over two years, or as a PGCE if you want to qualify as a language teacher. You can also earn a doctorate by studying for a PhD in languages.

Many languages programs include a year abroad where you can practice your language skills with native speakers. You will also be taught through group lectures, seminars and workshops, and assessment will be in the form of written and oral exams, translations, assignments and listening tests.

The program content and curriculum will vary from program to program, and also be dependant on which language you choose to study. Here are some of the most common modern language modules and subjects you may study:

  • Beginners French/German/Italian/Spanish/Mandarin
  • Advanced French/German/Italian/Spanish/Mandarin
  • Exploring cultural identity
  • Researching language
  • Linguistics
  • Translation
  • Interpretation
  • World cinema
  • Cultural history
Languages program structure

Languages and modern language degrees are available to study at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in countries all over the world. Most bachelor’s programs let you study up to three languages, and you can earn a BA after three or four years of studying. If you study in the US, you can choose languages as a major subject as part of a liberal arts education.

Some universities offer languages as a single-honors program, or a joint-honors program alongside another subject like cultural studies, business or history. At postgraduate level you can study languages as an MA over two years, or as a PGCE if you want to qualify as a language teacher. You can also earn a doctorate by studying for a PhD in languages.

Many languages programs include a year abroad where you can practice your language skills with native speakers. You will also be taught through group lectures, seminars and workshops, and assessment will be in the form of written and oral exams, translations, assignments and listening tests.

The program content and curriculum will vary from program to program, and also be dependant on which language you choose to study. Here are some of the most common modern language modules and subjects you may study:

  • Beginners French/German/Italian/Spanish/Mandarin
  • Advanced French/German/Italian/Spanish/Mandarin
  • Exploring cultural identity
  • Researching language
  • Linguistics
  • Translation
  • Interpretation
  • World cinema
  • Cultural history

Types of languages degrees

How to study languages abroad

  1. University & program search

    Find the right program for you and your career aspirations
  2. Application guidance

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  3. Visa & travel advice

    Get help after application, all the way to your first day at university

Our team of advisors is ready to support you at every step of your study abroad journey.
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Languages study abroad programs

Languages undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in languages

  • false

    Modern Languages - BA (Hons) University of Portsmouth, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    21,292 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,500 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Modern Languages
  • false

    Applied Languages - BA University of Limerick, Ireland

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    14,175 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 11,913 EUR

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Applied Languages
  • false

    Asian Languages (Japanese) - BA Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    29,834 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 29,834 USD

    Start date
    May, August, January
    Show program overview about Asian Languages (Japanese)
  • false

    Business Services Solutions and Languages - BBA Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    42 months
    Annual tuition fee
    11,304 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 9,500 EUR

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Business Services Solutions and Languages
  • false

    World Languages - BA Stockton University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    21,605 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 21,605 USD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about World Languages
See all bachelor's degrees in languages

Associate in languages

  • false

    Modern Languages - AA Santiago Canyon College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    8,304 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 8,304 USD

    Start date
    August, June, February
    Show program overview about Modern Languages
  • false

    Modern Languages - AA Douglas College, Canada

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    14,312 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,000 CAD

    Start date
    September, May, January
    Show program overview about Modern Languages
  • false

    World Languages - AA Seattle Central College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    9,687 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 9,687 USD

    Start date
    September, June, April, January
    Show program overview about World Languages
See all associate degrees in languages

Certificate in languages

  • false

    Advanced Study in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages - Cert California State University, Sacramento, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    16,800 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,800 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Advanced Study in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • false

    English for Speakers of Other Languages, ESOL - Cert Keiser University, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    31,120 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 31,120 USD

    Start date
    August, January
    Show program overview about English for Speakers of Other Languages, ESOL
  • false

    English for Speakers of Other Languages: High Intermediate - Cert Berkeley City College, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    7,950 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 7,950 USD

    Start date
    August, June, January
    Show program overview about English for Speakers of Other Languages: High Intermediate
  • false

    English for Speakers of Other Languages: High Intermediate - Cert Laney College, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    7,950 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 7,950 USD

    Start date
    August, June, January
    Show program overview about English for Speakers of Other Languages: High Intermediate
See all undergraduate certificates in languages

Languages graduate programs

Master's in languages

  • false

    Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages - MA TESOL Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    15 months
    Annual tuition fee
    24,318 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 24,318 USD

    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • false

    Clinical Speech and Language Studies - MSc Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    23,793 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 19,996 EUR

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Clinical Speech and Language Studies
  • false

    Education Studies and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) - MSc University of Stirling, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    21,910 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,950 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Education Studies and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
  • false

    International Relations and European Languages - MA (Hons) University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    23,730 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 17,275 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about International Relations and European Languages
  • false

    Languages and Applied Linguistics - MPhil University of Portsmouth, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    22,391 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,300 GBP

    Start date
    February
    Show program overview about Languages and Applied Linguistics
See all master's degrees in languages

Doctorate in languages

  • false

    Languages and Applied Linguistics - PhD University of Portsmouth, UK

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    22,391 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,300 GBP

    Start date
    February
    Show program overview about Languages and Applied Linguistics
See all doctorates in languages

Certificate in languages

  • false

    Secondary Modern Languages - PGCert Bath Spa University, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    18,270 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,300 GBP

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Secondary Modern Languages
  • false

    Secondary Modern Languages - GradCert London Metropolitan University, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    17,446 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 12,700 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Secondary Modern Languages
See all postgraduate certificates in languages

Future languages careers

As a languages graduate you will have developed a variety of skills that can apply to a number of careers. Here are some of the most common roles modern language students go into:

  • Translator or interpreter
  • Language teacher
  • Journalist
  • Diplomatic service officer
  • Academic researcher

There are plenty of other sectors like broadcasting and finance that are popular with languages graduates, so don’t limit your job search. If you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your degree after graduation, use the university’s careers service to help you.

You can improve your employability by taking advantage of university clubs and organizations. Studying abroad is also a great way to improve your CV as it shows employers you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and embrace new experiences.