My journey from Duolingo to university
So i've been learning languages on Duolingo for about 2 years or so now. It started out mainly as a hobby, I was never very good at languages in school, and Duolingo seemed like a fun way to try and learn languages for free.
About a year ago I realised I wanted to dedicate myself to learning languages formally, and thanks to Duolingo I passed an A2 exam in German that allowed me to enrol at university to start a degree in modern languages. Since September 2016 i've been studying German at university alongside using Duolingo as much as possible and I recently scored 89% on my B1 exam.
I also started learning French and Italian with Duolingo about a year and a half ago, alongside using free resources like Easy Languages on youtube, and i've recently passed an A2 exam in both languages, and so alongside a B2 course in German, i'll also be taking a B1 course in French and a B1 course in Italian with my university from September!
If all goes to plan I should graduate with a BA in French and German, with a minor in Italian with my university.
I really can't thank Duolingo enough for helping me realise my great love for languages, and inspiring me to study them at university.
From my experience, the market doesn't look for people that speak several languages specifically, i.e. if that is their only marketable skill. However, if you have other skills (engineering, business, etc), then, knowing several languages will give you a definite edge over other candidates when applying for a job. So, yes, learn languages, but consider it rather as an (amazing) bonus than your main skill. Unless you want to work in the niche market of translation and interpretation of course.
All this, of course, is from the rational point of view of finding a job. You can learn languages just because it is fun and opens your world to other cultures.
I wanted to ask him that question too. In the last couple years I have become passionate about languages and thinking back to my university days I think with retrospect that a degree in languages would have been a course of study I would have thoroughly enjoyed! I just didn't know that at the time.
Well, as with any subject in the humanities a degree will confer transferable skills that can be applied to a number of jobs. The ability to think critically, stick to tight deadlines, and produce high quality work is always valued - one could work in business, administration, teaching, logistics, human resources, etc.
But in relation to jobs specifically requiring language skills there are the "obvious 3" - being a teacher / tutor, interpreter and translator.
Then there are the less obvious ones where having knowledge of a language would be very useful - working in the tourism sector, the diplomatic corp, politics and international relations, investigative journalism.
Personally I really would like to be a freelance translator. :)
Congratulations! When I moved to Paraguay two years - three! years ago I discovered Duolingo. I already had studied Spanish but it's helped solidify my knowledge. I added Portuguese because Brazil is close by and it's so similar to Spanish. I took it very slow, about one lesson a day, then got side tracked for about six months. I started with Duolingo again about 83 days ago. Last week someone posted an article online on Facebook in Portuguese. To my surprise I was able to read the whole article with only four unknown words to look up. Thanks Duolingo!
Why not just take CEFR tests alone without getting a BA? (What motivated you to get a BA instead?). I know that college / university has some (minor) advantages, like speech training. In the past I've also taken a quick look at getting a language degree (BA or MA) as an extra but quickly decided against it. I'm absolutely not saying that going for a language degree is a bad thing but I'm simply wondering if it's really of much value compared to just taking CEFR tests? To which I personally felt like the answer was "no". But it would be interesting to hear why it's a "yes" for you. Is it (partially) because of "having" to get a degree anyway? I.e. taking the course to justify the time spent? To which level is the course supposed to take you B2, C1, C2?
My BA is supposed to take me to C1 in French and German, and B1 in Italian.
The reason I wanted a BA is I have my heart set on becoming a translator, and in my country it's typically considered industry standard to have an MA in translation, or at least be educated to degree level. :) Also in my country, if I ever wanted to teach my subject at a high school in the future, it usually requires a degree in your chosen subject.
Naturally I could have just taken CEFR tests, but I personally find it useful having a framework to help me learn languages - be it Duolingo, formal language classes, directed reading, etc. And I feel that by doing a set course I would make better progress than simply trying to teach myself.
Though of course it's totally subjective, and this is merely my own preference.
I have been doing Spanish for a relatively short time, I love the way you learn phrases not just words, and completely agree that duolingo supports your language learning and gives you the confidence to increase your skills (almost without you noticing!) I wish you all the best in your studies and found your story so inspiring.