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Studying language in college?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by wmmk, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    not for somebody seeking to enrich their spirit, but for somebody seeking to enrich their wallet.
     
  2. spb_lady

    spb_lady Well-Known Member

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    not for somebody seeking to enrich their spirit, but for somebody seeking to enrich their wallet.
    I'm from a weird country where enriching once spirit is valued much higher than enriching once wallet, and where high school has nothing in common with real life and business processes. That's why I studied philosophy and social sciences at the University in order to get good education and after started to work in the field I wanted without any idea how is it inside and what really my job will look like. And you know what? I'm doing pretty well. I'm just learning fast. My father was brilliant at science. He studied medicine and neurobiology, stayed at the university after he graduated, was teaching and doing science research. Being pretty happy till the Soviet Union died and he realized that he has a wife and 2 small children, but has no money and no place to live. It was a difficult choice for him, but he wanted to feed us sometimes, so he left science and started to study trading and finance. Himself. 3 years after he was invited to teach this at the university as well. He is now one of the best financial analysts in the country. What I'm saying here is that I do believe that smart and educated people can be successful in nearly any field they want (may be excluding some very specialized fields... though I have some examples as well). They just have enough learning skills and mental power for this. As to the people who specialized on the right nostril in order to get a job, I'm not so sure. Just an opinion.
     
  3. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    Well yes, you are immensely competent as an individual in a range of areas that will hold you in good stead for the future, but at the same time, you are also starting threads about how you don't feel equipped to deal with the managerial challenges of your new role . Interestingly advice on those challenges seems to be coming from a couple of people who, in this thread, are recommending the OP study something a little more practical.

    Now, you know better than anyone that I have no issue with learning languages and encouraging people to do so...but I am typically polytechnical in my approach to education, but there is a scale between practical and useless...trade schools sit at one end, but studying a language with almost zero likely potential relevance to any career path imaginable, nor application to any likely key area of the persons life (other than catch up on literature in its native tongue, which, as various others have pointed out upthread, in a few years at a few hours a week of study for a couple of years, he still won't be able to do anyhow) is pretty far to the other end. Well past political science, the social sciences, the humanities and the classics on that spectrum.

    If he said Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, or even any language where he had a legitimate, focused, and practical reason to study it, then I am all for it. Even now, I basically don't care, but if he starts a thread that says 'do you think this is a good idea', I'm going to say no, and I am going to get lured into one of the three topics I always end up getting dragged into....(liberal arts educations, practical martial arts, can men and women be friends)

    What is interesting also is that the staunch defenders of 'my liberal arts education taught me how to think for myself and employers want that' do tend to ignore the feedback of the people on this board who are employers, who say 'well ya, but then...I am less likely to hire you'. They then come back with 'and my friend did a BA in X and is now a partner at a law firm' (conveniently ignoring any other BA grad they know who is doing very little of note)...and then...ultimately, a few years on, find themselves starting threads on the forum about minimum starting salaries, as it turned out that it wasn't so easy to get a job with their brilliant critical thinking skills after all. Turns out the analysis of The Taming Of The Shrew didn't turn out to be all that sought after. Who knew?

    Now, (other than a few snide jokes) no one is seriously saying that 'it is impossible to ever get anywhere with your liberal arts degree', it's not. It's just a bunch harder than having some kind of qualification with the same name as the job that you are applying for - especially when you are a faceless CV on a stack on some guy's desk with three hundred other faceless CVs. You can fuel all the general interests and passions you want later on...when you have a job.
     
  4. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

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    but a minor in Spanish? Not likely. I'll sell out first.

    Why?
     
  5. spb_lady

    spb_lady Well-Known Member

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    Well yes, you are immensely competent as an individual in a range of areas that will hold you in good stead for the future, but at the same time, you are also starting threads about how you don't feel equipped to deal with the managerial challenges of your new role . Interestingly advice on those challenges seems to be coming from a couple of people who, in this thread, are recommending the OP study something a little more practical.

    Are saying now that you learned how to manage people and processes at the university, not by years and years of practice in the companies?


    Aww... it was encouragement? I thought you just left me no choice [​IMG]

    ___

    Jokes aside. I partly agree with you that if you know already what you want to do in your life, go and study it directly, not wasting time on some abstract subjects. But what if you are not sure what you want to do? How should you spend your time at the university then? Studying right nostril in order to get a job even if you don't really want that job?
     
  6. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    Are saying now that you learned how to manage people and processes at the university, not by years and years of practice in the companies?
    80 percent work 20 percent school. But I'm glad I had the schooling, and as a grad, I was glad my education was relevant to the career I wanted. Getting a foot in the door would have been much harder without it. My degree (after I transferred out of poli sci) was a double major in public relations and electronic business. I hold a degree that says Bachelor of Management (Marketing), but the above were my key study areas. If that sounds a little wordy and odd, it's because it is. I pretty much convinced my professors to let me build my own degree based on my own perceptions of my employability post graduation. It worked and I was employed within a few months of graduating. But included in there was a lot of managerial material, theories, HR and organisational psych, negotiating skills, related internships and - of course - a bunch of marketing stuff, that is almost exactly what you currently do for a living. Even then, I have always said I learned more in my first week in a real job than I learned in all my years at uni, but still, the uni gave me a decent practical knowledge base for the challenges that work life presented me with, the real world taught me which parts of that I need and which parts I don't.
     
  7. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    Aww... it was encouragement? I thought you just left me no choice [​IMG]
    you're welcome [​IMG]
     
  8. spb_lady

    spb_lady Well-Known Member

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    you're welcome [​IMG]

    can't wait to encourage you to study useless russian language [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Well-Known Member

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    West Coast is back for all you suckas
    Can men and women be friends?
     
  10. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    only if he's gay
     
  11. misnomer

    misnomer Well-Known Member

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    I took russian for 2 years at the start of my undergrad. It's a tricky language (full disclaimer: I'm fluent in french and english but no case-based languages. a case-based one may help), and I felt that while the instruction was good, there's no way I'll be able to retain it without going to russia. I would look into exchange programs, terms abroad, etc, because my classmates who have done so are miles ahead of those of us who didn't. I'm definitely going over there when I finish my undergrad. It's a great language but the class-based way you learn in in a university is a little lacking. Put in the effort (GO TO RUSSIA!) and your time/effort will actually pay off.

    In terms of whether it will contribute to your liberal arts experience, I feel that those who seek a liberal arts education value learning a variety of modes of thinking, including language. I see immense benefit from taking russian. Just don't expect to be reading the classics after your second year.
     
  12. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    can't wait to encourage you to study useless russian language [​IMG] [​IMG]
    not useless for me. There is a practical reason for me to learn it. I wouldn't devote four years of my life to it, nor would I devote four years of tuition fees (or decades of student debt) to it either. I'd probably download a Pimsleur course and listen every morning or something. I'd never be arguing interpretations of Tolstoy with Russians, but I'd get around Mui Ne pretty well...
     
  13. spb_lady

    spb_lady Well-Known Member

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    nor would I devote four years of tuition fees (or decades of student debt) to it either

    my education was free by the way [​IMG] may be it partly explains difference in our views on the subject.
     
  14. mordecai

    mordecai Well-Known Member

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    It's a good idea, better than many majors. Russian in particular is great, although I happen to have been blessed with a natural accent, perhaps via cultural memory. Milpool is incorrect. Can cite examples.
     
  15. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    my education was free by the way [​IMG] may be it partly explains difference in our views on the subject.
    mine was heavily subsidised too, that's Australia. OP is going to a 'small liberal arts' college. To my understanding of the US system, this typically means expensive...although any American on the board is free to correct me on that.
     
  16. mordecai

    mordecai Well-Known Member

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    mine was heavily subsidised too, that's Australia. OP is going to a 'small liberal arts' college. To my understanding of the US system, this typically means expensive...although any American on the board is free to correct me on that.

    nah, they're all expensive.
     
  17. Rambo

    Rambo Well-Known Member

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    nah, they're all expensive.
    Yep. Some are just WAY more expensive than others.
     
  18. CDFS

    CDFS Well-Known Member

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    The practicality of learning Russian aside, would learning Russian be so much harder than learning English?

    As a native Dutchman I started reading English novels at around age 12-14 (I forget) and have read many since. I'm sure I'll never acquire a native speaking/writing level (of a similary educated and aged Englishman/American), but my passive reading skills are good enough so I'm mostly affected in speed, not comprehension.

    Although there's the different alphabet as an extra hurdle, starting out, I can't think of a real reason why wmmk couldn't acquire similar skills in Russian given proper exposure and a decent dictionary.
     
  19. Milpool

    Milpool Well-Known Member

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    Milpool is incorrect.

    As I am searching for a new job, I certainly hope you are correct.
     
  20. Journeyman

    Journeyman Well-Known Member

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    The practicality of learning Russian aside, would learning Russian be so much harder than learning English?

    As a native Dutchman I started reading English novels at around age 12-14 (I forget) and have read many since. I'm sure I'll never acquire a native speaking/writing level (of a similary educated and aged Englishman/American), but my passive reading skills are good enough so I'm mostly affected in speed, not comprehension.

    Although there's the different alphabet as an extra hurdle, starting out, I can't think of a real reason why wmmk couldn't acquire similar skills in Russian given proper exposure and a decent dictionary.



    I only know how to say "comrade" and "good morning" in Russian, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

    However, Russian does have a reputation for being quite a difficult language to learn.
    For someone from a non-English-speaking background, so does English.
    But here's the key - the OP is a native English speaker, so he picked up English with his mother's milk - therefore, it came to him naturally and would not have been very difficult for him.

    Learning a language from birth - whilst immersed in that language - and learning a second language at college whilst hearing it for only a few hours a week are two very different things.
     

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