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Students and representatives meet at the Language Career & Internship Fair.

Representatives from nearly 50 organizations showcased both traditional and nontraditional language careers.

The University Career Center & The President’s Promise partnered with the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation to bring the 5th Annual Language Career & Internship Fair to the Colony Ballroom of the Stamp Student Union on October 23. Undergraduates and graduates of all majors met with representatives from 49 companies, government organizations, non-profits and academic programs. Spanish, Chinese and Arabic were sought nearly across the board, but potential employers were also looking for students with proficiency in a variety of lesser-known languages, from Turkish to Tagalog. Students in attendance received information about more traditional fields such as translation and interpretation, as well as language needs for careers in anything from law enforcement to education advocacy.

Government agencies such as the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of State demonstrated need for many critical languages—Arabic, Russian, and Persian, among others. But employers listed other opportunities available even for students with only high-school Spanish. City Year Admissions Coordinator Mark McClements said that what he looks for in a candidates is “diversity of experience” and “desire to give back.” For City Year, the deciding factor in an application is not necessarily perfection in a foreign language, but candidates’ willingness to interact with Spanish-speaking populations and other immigrant communities.

Both the Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County police departments were also present at the Language Career and Internship Fair, hoping to attract students who want to apply their language-learning at a local level. “Our communities are so diverse,” said Corporal R.J. Swigert, referring to his jurisdiction in Anne Arundel County. In any culture, “certain gestures or words can be very important,” Swigert says, so it is crucial to have law enforcement agents who can avoid “creating offense in the home.” By far the most common local foreign language is Spanish, but Swigert says Anne Arundel County is home to immigrant communities from many other parts of the world, so any language skills can be helpful on the job.

For the past five years, SLLC has joined forces with other campus partners to sponsor the Language Career and Internship Fair during the fall semester. For more information about the annual event and a list of 2013 participants, visit the University Career Center & The President’s Promise Web site.

Samantha Suplee ('14, Spanish Language & Literature and History)
SLLC Public Relations and Media Intern