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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

Types of languages degrees

How to study languages abroad

  1. University & program search

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Languages study abroad programs

Languages undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in languages

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    Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) - BA University of Findlay, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    33,250 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 33,250 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
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    Language Studies - BA (Hons) University of Portsmouth, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    21,219 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,500 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Language Studies
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    International Business & Languages - BA Technological University Dublin, Ireland

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    13,995 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 11,500 EUR

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about International Business & Languages
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    Modern Foreign Languages - BA James Madison University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    24,150 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 24,150 USD

    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about Modern Foreign Languages
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    Modern Languages and Cultures - BA Pace University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    44,714 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 44,714 USD

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

Associate in languages

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    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, January, April, June
    Show program overview about World Languages
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    Modern Languages - AA Douglas College, Canada

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    14,156 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,000 CAD

    Start date
    January, May, September
    Show program overview about Modern Languages
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    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
    February, June, August
    Show program overview about Modern Languages
See all associate degrees in languages

Certificate in languages

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    English for Speakers of Other Languages: Advanced - 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, January, June
    Show program overview about English for Speakers of Other Languages: Advanced
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    English for Speakers of Other Languages: 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, January, June
    Show program overview about English for Speakers of Other Languages: Intermediate
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    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
    January, August
    Show program overview about English for Speakers of Other Languages, ESOL
See all undergraduate certificates in languages

Languages graduate programs

Master's in languages

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

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    12,600 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 12,600 USD

    Start date
    January, March, May, June, August, October
    Show program overview about Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
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    Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages - MA University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    22,896 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 22,896 USD

    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
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    Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages - MSEd Long Island University Brooklyn, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    21,618 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 21,618 USD

    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
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    Modern Languages, Literature and Culture: Narratives of Conflict: French - MA Maynooth University, Ireland

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    17,038 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,000 EUR

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Modern Languages, Literature and Culture: Narratives of Conflict: French
  • false

    Modern Languages - MPhil University of Newcastle, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    22,317 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 28,895 AUD

    Start date
    February, July, September
    Show program overview about Modern Languages
See all master's degrees in languages

Doctorate in languages

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    Languages and Applied Linguistics - PhD University of Portsmouth, UK
    • Part-time

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    6 years
    Annual tuition fee
    11,157 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 8,150 GBP

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

Certificate in languages

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    Secondary Modern Languages - PGCert Bath Spa University, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    18,208 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,300 GBP

    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Secondary Modern Languages
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    Secondary Modern Languages - GradCert London Metropolitan University, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    17,386 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.