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Why should you be keen on language and culture?

If you want to get to know the world, really get to know people from other cultures, or do business with other societies, you will find that one of your most important skills will be the ability to communicate in the language of the society in which you're living, traveling, or working.  Language study also helps you develop your cognitive abilities (i.e. your brain power), and it makes you a more sophisticated user of your own first language.

Studying in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies:

  • gives you the ability to communicate with people throughout central and eastern Europe
  • not only provides you with a unique perspective into a new culture, but it makes you more aware of you own language and culture
  • lets you appreciate the richness of other cultures
  • provides you with intercultural communication skills, and makes you a more effective and successful communicator
  • gives you access to study and work opportunities throughout Europe
  • equips you with skills that can make a difference when looking for work in Canada and elsewhere

Here is what some of our graduates and employers are saying about language study

Joerg Stieber, CEO, Ontario Drive & Gear:

If a candidate has language learning experience on his or her cv, I am looking at this candidate favourably already because that experience tells me that this candidate is open for challenges and willing to try something new.

Language is the key to understanding culture – know your customer. The party who accommodates the other party by speaking their language has the high ground.

Rebecca Kaster, German/Arts and Business Co-op graduate, technology consultant:

Audio: Rebecca Kaster on languages and tenacity (WAV)

Learning a second language shows prospective employers that you are dedicated and committed to things you are passionate about because language acquisition doesn’t just happen overnight. Taking advantage of opportunities to go abroad also demonstrates tenacity and flexibility as it shows that you can tackle any unexpected turns along your way to achieve a certain goal.

Audio: Rebecca Kaster on becoming proficient in a second language (WAV)

It is not too late to start learning a language at university. It is possible to become quite proficient in the language even after three or four years of university, especially if you go on exchange as part of your language studies, as I did.

Jasmin Hofer, Honours German/Co-op graduate, owner of Energrow Inc.:

Professionally, my German degree gave me the confidence to communicate directly with German-speaking organizations, enables me to do quality and in-depth field research in our company's topics of interest, and let's me read-up on what our competition is doing around the world. Personally, my degree helped me meet two of my best friends who live in Germany, enabled me to better communicate with family and friends that still live or moved to Europe, let me expand my passion of cycling and doing biathalon races in Europe.