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Why Study Language?

Opening Doors

Stanford student talks about how language study at Stanford opens doors.

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Studying languages opens up a whole new world of possibilities!


  • Fine tune analytical skills, multi-tasking capabilities and enhance creativity
  • Improve communication and listening skills
  • Enhance academic program (more advanced study of politics, history and culture of a foreign country requires proficiency in the language)


  • Increase job prospects
  • Boost compensation (Careers in defense and intelligence highly value a language-proficient workforce with language incentive programs and bonuses.)
  • Strengthen competitive edge for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors with a minor in Language
  • Open up opportunities in journalism, community engagement, foreign service, overseas teaching and similar roles
  • Reach the global marketplace more effectively


  • Prepare for a richer Study Abroad and other international travel experiences

Personal/ Social

  • Be a more active participant in an increasingly multicultural world
  • Learn about other cultures and gain better understanding of human nature
  • Expand your view of the world
  • Learn to engage with people from other cultures on issues of mutual concern
  • Have fun!

The Stanford Language Center prepares students to have a foreign language capability that enhances their academic program and enables them to live, work, study, and research in a foreign language setting. Come join us!

Fitting Language Study In

Stanford students talk about how they are able to fit language into their plans.

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All students take electives!

Many students take language courses as elective courses

Work with advisors to draft a 4-year plan

Consider studying abroad! Many courses that fulfill general education requirements (GERs) are offered in Stanford's Bing Overseas Studies Program.

Potential engineering students: see sample 4-year plans by majors in the Engineering Handbook.

Keep an open mind

Your plans and interests may evolve.


Which Languages To Study?

Which languages have you already studied?

Don't let knowledge dissipate. Build on your current proficiency or perhaps start a related language.

Which academic areas are you considering?

Does a new language better fit your academic interests?

Will you study abroad?

Language preparation greatly enhances the study abroad experience.


One student-athlete gives his perspective on life after university.

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Going Beyond the Requirement

The how's and why's of going beyond, from the students' perspectives.

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Words of Advice

Students share their two cents on language learning and university life in general.

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Language Student Profiles

Major: Computer Science (BS)
Minor: Spanish
Language Courses: First- and Second-Year Spanish
Sigma Delta Pi, National Spanish Honor Society
Study Abroad: Santiago, Chile
Work Abroad: Intern at Inria Chile, Santiago, Chile: trilingual workplace (Spanish, French, English); developed a demo showing real-time updates of the Santiago public transit system.
Additional Activities: Alto saxophonist in LSJUMB; RCC in Kairos; Leadership roles with she++ (Co-Director; Founder and Co-Director of the #include fellowship program and ThinkTank project); Chi Omega; summer internships at Google and WhatsApp
Currently: Traveling through Europe and South America for the summer, and returning to the Bay Area to work as a software engineer at Google in the fall
Major: Economics (BA)
Minor: International Relations; Modern Languages (Spanish and French)
Language Courses: Second-Year and Advanced Spanish; Second-Year and Advanced French; Intensive First-Year Russian
Proficiency Notation in Spanish
Study Abroad: Santiago, Chile; Moscow, Russia
Work Abroad: Intern in the Economic and Political Section of the US Embassay, Santiago, Chile
Additional Activities: Volunteer interpreter (Spanish) for Legal Aid Society of San Mateo; transcribed interviews (French and Spanish) for the Linguistics Department; Co-director of Content and Speakers for the Stanford Association for International Development's annual conference
Currently: Intern at the Federal Reserve Bank in SF; returning to Stanford this fall for a coterm in Public Policy
Future Plans: Would like to work for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the division of Financial Institution Supervision overseeing French banks