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Language & International Relations?

HailesHailes Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
edited October 2011 in Other College Majors
I'm planning on majoring in International Relations (International Affairs, International Inter-communications, whatever you want to refer to it as) and I'm curious as to what an "in demand" language to pursue might be.

I've already been taking Spanish for almost eleven years and would consider myself fluent or at least close to being so. It has been handy, but I that it isn't a very unique language and I'm not all that interested in the culture, anyway, so I'd like to take a different language for now.

What would be a good language to pair with IA? I'm interested in Arabic or maybe Russian, although neither are latin based and that would make them pretty difficult. I truly find them interesting though so I wouldn't be lacking in motivation.

Are these languages already saturated in the work force? Am I heading in the right direction at all?

I know someone is going to say that Mandarin is a very useful language, but honestly, I have no desire to learn it. It would be very difficult, I'm not interested in the culture whatsoever and I don't like the way the words feel on my mouth, so we can just throw that out right now.

Any input is appreciated! thanks!
Post edited by Hailes on

Replies to: Language & International Relations?

  • CJ MadisonCJ Madison Registered User Posts: 488 Member
    OK - he we go again. Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years? What kind of job, grad school?

    "In demand" to government means nothing if you want to work in the US or Europe.

    Arabic is probably your best in terms of "In-demand". However, being if you are female, working in the Arab world is different than the US.

    Here's an example - My "S" is majoring in IA at GW. He's pretty fluent in Spanish also. His desire is to work in the EU and NATO - therefore he is actively learning French and studying abroad in Brussels.

    So, it's not necessarily what's "in-demand" - it's more where you want to be and work!


  • MonoclideMonoclide Registered User Posts: 972 Member
    I'm double majoring in Politics and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. (Taking quantitive, international, and comparative courses within POL for a more international scope.)

    I did a year of intensive French freshman year. I read Le Monde and other French publications near daily. I understand it, but I am not close to fluency at all in speaking. It is something that I would like to continue, but I switched to Arabic. It isn't latin-based and it isn't written in roman letters, but the language is shockingly very easy. I really recommend it to anyone interested in it.

    The 5 official UN languages are English, French, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, and Chinese. While Chinese is on that list, I sort of laugh at people who take it, especially those in business schools. You will never conduct business in Mandarin. It will always be in English.

    But when it comes to international relations and communications, the UN application can sum it up best: "English required, French is a plus." Tack on a regional language for a specialty.
  • Nin10dude317Nin10dude317 Registered User Posts: 339 Member
    The 5 UN languages are always the best if you're looking for utility.

    In business, add Japanese, Korean, Hindi, and German to the list.

    In government and law, regional areas such as Hebrew, Dari and Pashto (Afghanistan), Urdu (Pakistan), Bengali, Tamil, etc (India) are exceptionally desired by the UN and State Dept.

    It really depends where in the world you see yourself- Spanish in the Americas, French in Africa, Chinese in Asia, and Arabic and Russian in their communities. Most anywhere else speaks their national language and English.
  • unenlightenedunenlightened Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
    @Monoclide: Are you kidding me? Mandarin is super useful to know.... it's where a LOT of the opportunities for big multinational business development are...
  • Dionysus58Dionysus58 - Posts: 799 Member
    @Monoclide: Are you kidding me? Mandarin is super useful to know.... it's where a LOT of the opportunities for big multinational business development are...

    I'm a little tired of people saying this. Monoclide is quite right; Mandarin is over-hyped and really not very important or useful compared to languages like French, German, Russian and Spanish.

    Learning Mandarin: False Eastern promise | The Economist
  • MonoclideMonoclide Registered User Posts: 972 Member
    That's a great article.

    Here's another from the NYTimes about English dominance:

    Across cultures, English is the word - The New York Times
This discussion has been closed.