Languages and cultures

Knowledge of different languages and cultures expands our minds, transforms our experience of the world and brings benefits to local and global economies.

Languages and Cultures graduates specialise in one or more Asian or European languages as well as the cultural contexts and literature of those countries. Alongside their practical language skills they also bring important skills in communication – written, verbal, non-verbal and inter-cultural, analytical thinking and problem solving. They also have the mental agility to move between languages and notice the nuance of other cultures.

Roles and career pathways

Languages and Cultures graduates work in a wide range of roles that utilise their communication, interpersonal and analytical skills. Many of the languages studied by graduates are key business languages which can enhance opportunities across a range of commercial sectors.

Some roles directly utilise the language skills of graduates, for example positions in tourism, international relations, global business and IT or trade wile others draw on the transferable skills gained from their studies. Possible jobs include translator, tour guide, events coordinator, hotel manager, international development manager, import and export agent, management consultant, policy adviser, intelligence analyst, content creator and international education consultant or business development adviser.

The majority of students combine their study of a language with another subject area such as Tourism, History, Anthropology, International Relations, Political Science, Marketing, Accounting or Law to help add flexibility and uniqueness to their qualification and help broaden their employment options.

Postgraduate study in Languages and Cultures allows students to specialise as well as extend their knowledge in a specific aspect of language or culture, and develop research and analysis skills for roles policy or research.

Completing a postgraduate diploma in secondary teaching (limited entry) may lead to roles teaching an approved language and at least one other subject at secondary level. See Teaching.

Where Languages and Cultures graduates work

Languages and Cultures graduates work across the private and public sectors in a variety of organisations such as tourism associations, hotels, local and global non-profit organisations, global businesses, government departments, professional services firms and universities.

Languages and Cultures graduates have worked in organisations such as:

Build relevant skills and experience

Part-time work and volunteering during study all help to increase your job prospects when you graduate. The WFHSS Internship course run by the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences helps develop practical work place experience. Programmes such as Wellington Plus and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) offer opportunities to gain diverse volunteer and leadership experience. Completing the Study Abroad and Exchange programme can provide a unique opportunity to hone your language skills and immerse yourself in the culture you have been studying. There are also sometimes opportunities for summer teaching assistant positions in these countries.

Make career connections

Making connections with individuals and groups during your degree can help you learn more about career and networking opportunities. There are a number of student clubs for each language at Victoria University of Wellington, where you can practise languages and network with fellow students in a social environment. As well as events held by the School of Languages and Cultures throughout the year, if you are enrolled with Wellington International Leadership Programme, you will have opportunities to engage with embassies in Wellington to learn more about their work and connect within these communities. The Language Learning Centre (LLC) at the University also offers opportunities for students to improve their language ability and find a language buddy. The Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Wellington Young Professionals hold various events and opportunities for networking. The Alumni as Mentors programme for final-year students also helps enhance your connections and employability while studying.