Jason Dorick, class of '07, found the perfect venue for his interdisciplinary interests in ILC. During his four years of studying French at St. Mary's, he also took courses in German and Spanish, and studied abroad in Montpellier.
A major or a minor in International Languages and Cultures is an invaluable asset in today's increasingly global marketplace. Some interesting data, as of 2003:
- There are about 333 million speakers of Spanish as a first language (more than the population of the United States) (2007).
- Spanish speakers constitute the largest minority group in the United States.
- China's population is about 1.3 billion, with almost 904 million speakers of Mandarin Chinese as a first language (2007).
- China is one of the US' most important trading partners with enormous economic growth, and in 2006 it was the second-largest economy after that of the U.S.
- The US' single biggest trading partner is Canada, which has two official languages - English and French. In 2006 22.2% of U.S. exports went to Canada and 16% of imports came from Canada (compared to 15.9% of imports from China).
- French is an official language of government, instruction, and business in 36 countries. It is one of two official languages in the U.N. Security Council and, along with German and English, it is one of the official languages of the European Union. French is the second most-studied foreign language in the world, after English.
- The world's third largest economy is Germany, the economic engine of the European Union.
Sensitivity to different cultural contexts is often cited as a key skill for job seekers in the twenty-first century, and language is inseparable from cultural understanding. A solid background in International Languages and Cultures can lead to careers in Teaching (in schools and businesses), Advertising, Banking, Computers, Customer Service, Entertainment, Foreign Service, State and Federal Government, Journalism, Law, Law Enforcement, Market Research, NGO's, Personnel, Policy Organizations, Project Management, Translation and Interpretation, Travel and Tourism, and in practically any area where communication skills are valued. Many of our majors have gone on to graduate school (in international relations, communications, law, translation studies, etc.) and many have found their linguistic and cultural skills essential for their chosen careers.