Degrees and courses for international students
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Careers in Languages

Skills development

As well as the specific subject knowledge gained from studying an OU degree, you'll develop many transferable and work-related skills that are highly valued by employers and which will increase your employability.

Language students develop a range of employability skills, including the ability to:

  • draw together, analyse and critically evaluate information
  • use your knowledge about how language works in a range of settings
  • communicate effectively, clearly and accurately with others
  • put together reasoned arguments and question assumptions
  • understand contemporary global issues and appreciate cultural diversity

Career opportunities

There is a wide spectrum of careers in Languages. Languages may be central to some occupations, such as the diplomatic service, interpreting, translating, journalism, teaching and tourism.

Other openings may be in the media (publishing, advertising, etc.), the leisure industry, international organisations, business and administration. Language skills are also seen as particularly important in sectors such as manufacturing, banking, finance and insurance due to the increasing globalisation of organisations.

A UK survey by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) survey in 2011, "Building for growth: business priorities for education and skills" highlighted the fact that 73% of employers wanted applicants who had conversational ability in languages. Employers felt that this skill helped to build relationships with businesses abroad and demonstrated that UK firms were keen to operate globally.

Your employers

Rigorous academic standards ensure that OU qualifications are recognised and valued by professional organisations and employers. However, we advise you to research your career choices thoroughly and as early as possible, particularly in relation to experience requirements, differences that relate to where you live, or where choice of courses may affect future opportunities. More information about international recognition of OU qualifications.

Interactive career planning resources are publically available on the OU careers web site to help you consider your options before, during and after your studies. Although much of our online occupational information is UK focused, a range of international online resources is also available to assist you with careers research and planning.

As a registered OU student you will be eligible for our full careers service including personal careers advice and guidance and access to our online vacancy service, Job Zone. We also have an Employer Showcase, where you can find out about some of the UK employers who are keen to recruit OU graduates. These include:

  • Credit Suisse
  • Enterprise Rent-a-car
  • Logica
View Languages courses


The single most important thing that I’d like to say to all OU graduates is that there are companies out there that want your talent, your experience and your knowledge.

Corporate Human Resources Manager, Enterprise