Want to catch the attention of potential employers and increase your chances of being hired? Add a language minor.

Have you ever considered making a language minor a part of your education? It could end up being the linchpin that secures your dream job following graduation. In fact, according to a 2015 study by the New American Fund, job postings that are searching for multilingual candidates more than doubled from 240,000 in 2010 to 630,000 in 2015.

More than ever, having another language in your back pocket is the differentiator that can help you stay ahead of your peers as the competitiveness of the job market increases.

That’s one of the main reasons why Alejandra Alsum, a sophomore international business and marketing major, added a Spanish language minor to her academic load. She recognized the advantage that it could give her in the future and decided to start setting herself up for success early on.    

“Although Spanish is starting to become a bit more common, that is the exact same reason why I will be set apart from colleagues in the workforce and professional world,” Alsum said. “Communication is key for everything, and if knowing a second language means I can ease the process of communication and others cannot, then that advantage is exactly what sets me apart.”

Alsum grew up speaking, reading, and writing Spanish as she learned it from her mother. She later picked up English skills at school.

“Being bilingual is one of the reasons I decided to minor in Spanish, but I also chose to do this because of my career interests,” Alsum said. “As an international business and marketing major, I am hoping that someday I will be able to work in logistics and supply chain management, and knowing a different language can possibly be very useful for that field.”

Adding a language minor is easy to do. Concordia currently offers two different options, Spanish and German, for its language minor with plenty of flexibility for students who choose to pursue it. For example, undergraduate students who enroll in Concordia with high school language classes on their transcripts have the opportunity to place higher in the program, following an assessment interview with a language professor. Some students place as high as the 300 level courses, leaving only four three-credit courses remaining to finish out the German minor and five three-credit courses for Spanish. Of those remaining courses, several of them can count toward electives within the Concordia Core to help students simultaneously meet requirements for both the language minor and the liberal arts electives.

If it’s still the class load that you’re worried about, consider Jennah Ludwig. She’s a junior with a double major in psychology and social work as well as a double minor in art and Spanish.

“I think it is important to study a language for many reasons,” Ludwig said. “Aside from being occupationally beneficial, it deepens your understanding of your primary language. I feel that I communicate and write better in English through knowing and understanding Spanish grammar.” 

For Ludwig, the addition of a minor to her academic load has also given her the chance to travel the world. Along the way, she gained valuable learning experiences and ministry opportunities that may otherwise never have happened without the exposure that studying another language provided her.

“It has enabled me to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people who would not have otherwise been able to in that instance,” Ludwig said. “It has led me to friendships with those who also love culture and people and share the same passions I do. What is super cool about that is that we can even talk about our shared passions and experiences in Spanish. It truly opens up a whole new world.”

I think it's important for a person to know a different language because language is the door to a whole new culture.

Both Ludwig and Alsum agree that a language minor provides an often unexpected benefit of being able to get exposure to other cultures—exposure that has widened their worldviews and increased their understanding of those people and their experiences.  

“I think it’s important for a person to know a different language because language is the door to a whole new culture,” Alsum said. “Once you know a different language, you can start to learn about their different cultural differences such as art, literature, norms, food, and much more.”

Ludwig added, ”In a world that is becoming increasingly polarized, it is endlessly important to be able to consider perspectives outside of our own.”  

Although each language student has the ability to take away as much or as little from the program as he or she wishes, it’s the hope of faculty members that they all walk away as impacted and educated as Ludwig and Alsum. Not only does that kind of impact and education give these students the ability to perform exceedingly well in the professional world, but it also provides them with increased awareness and compassion for differing people groups. It’s the perfect example of the Concordia mission in action—to develop students in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and the world.

Are you contemplating adding a language minor to your education? You can explore our minor in Spanish and our minor in German, or you can reach out to your academic advisor to discuss the possibility of taking on a language minor.   

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