As a graduate of a university in Dublin with experience of foreign language studies, this area interests me. Fluency in two or more languages offers many benefits, an observation supported by 83% of Europeans (www.euractiv.com). Despite the fact that this sentiment is widely accepted, only 34% of Irish people claim to be proficient in a second language, the worst rate in Europe (www.euractiv.com). Having recently become aware of such figures, I decided to investigate the predominant motives behind the decision of Irish undergraduates to study a foreign language. Is career enhancement a significant factor, or is enjoyment the main reason? Does a desire to learn about other cultures play a major role? Through liaising with language students at all levels of undergraduate education, I also wish to examine the other skills that students develop while pursuing this area of study.
In addition, I aim to familiarise myself with the viable job alternatives in Dublin that are open to a graduate with a foreign language qualification. It is estimated that 70% of businesses are now involved in some form of international activity (www.irishjobs.ie). Can a graduate apply his/her linguistic skills in the local employment arena, or is going abroad the only means of sourcing an ideal job? In order to answer this question, I will assess the local employment opportunities through extensive researching and conducting interviews with employers in Dublin.