Being a foreign language teacher

There are several career paths for students who wish to become a foreign language teacher. One, they can work within the public and private school system, depending on the language that they teach. Two, they can teach in language institutes, which are often established by language and cultural groups. Conversely, they can use their knowledge of the foreign language to travel to that region and teach English as a foreign language to local residents.
Regardless of which option appeals to you, an undergraduate education is required for students who wish to pursue a career as a foreign language teacher. Depending on the school, a teaching certification is obtained separately which may take place following college graduation. Students who are looking to teach a foreign language usually declare a major in that area. For the course of their undergraduate education, they will learn the fundamentals of the spoken and written language, cultural studies and literature. These courses are designed to prepare the students to gain competency in language skills, but they also provide insight into the cultural aspects of the language to provide the full experience.
Students may also be encouraged to participate in conversation clubs that take place inside or outside of school. These groups meet regularly and the objective is to practice their conversation skills, something which the books do not teach. It is also a great way to meet likeminded individuals who also want to improve their language skills.
Furthermore, to hone in their practical language skills and gain further exposure to the culture, students who are in schools that offer cultural and study exchange programs should take advantage of the opportunity. This is usually a one to two semester program where students can study abroad while paying the same tuition as their home school. Students will not only have a chance to witness the culture in person, but they have the opportunity to practice the language skills with locals and learn to speak like the locals. This is the one differentiation between language teachers who have spent time in abroad and those who just learned the language from books. Cultural know-how is extremely important and should be introduced in lessons to ensure students get the full spectrum of the language.
On the other hand, foreign language students who wish to travel abroad following graduation and teach English as a foreign language to local residents can go through education agencies that are established in the US. They often have placement programs which provide students with a one year or two year contract to teach English abroad. This is a great opportunity to learn about the language that you have specialized in a local environment while teaching English, your native tongue, to a group of students who can also help you hone in your foreign language skills.
For more information on language courses offered by various universities, or the career opportunities to each foreign language in US schools or teaching English abroad, please contact your high school counselor.

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