Study Language and Cultural Studies Abroad

Is there such a thing as a uniform European culture? What do you have to look out for during a business meeting in China? Which characters in world history were the inspiration for the protagonists of Shakespeare’s dramas? And what is the difference between British and American English? Linguists and cultural scientists deal with these and similar questions.

As the name suggests, linguistics and cultural studies encompass all subjects that deal with the languages ​​and cultures on this planet – in the broadest sense. In the past, these subjects were often referred to as the humanities . The term linguistic and cultural studies has established itself in Germany since the 1980s.

An overview of linguistic and cultural science disciplines

According to Iamaccepted, there is no uniform canon of subjects in linguistics and cultural studies. However, there are some “classic” cultural studies subjects that are part of the courses offered at many German universities.

The classics

The core subjects of cultural studies include

  • Ethnology
  • History
  • Archeology
  • Art history
  • Philosophy

What these subjects have in common is that they take a broad approach at the beginning of the course . In the course of their studies , students then have the opportunity to specialize .

Ethnology – the “science of the culturally foreign”

In anthropology, students first get to know the scientific methods and the history of the subject. After that, they choose a region from them with their culture during their studies employ more detail , for example, East Africa and Southeast Asia.

The historical disciplines of archeology, history and art history

In the subjects of archeology, history and art history, students have the opportunity to specialize in a certain period :

  • After a general introduction, history students deal with, for example, the history of antiquity, the Middle Ages or modern times.
  • There are also various ways of specializing in archeology. Archaeologists deal either with the prehistory of mankind, Greek and Roman antiquity or industrial culture.
  • In the first semesters, art historians get an overview of all art eras and the methods of the subject. Then they usually focus on a specific artist or art direction.

Philosophy – the love of wisdom

Philosophy students also receive an introduction to the subject. For example, you acquire knowledge in the field of philosophical work and theoretical philosophy . In later semesters it is possible to specialize in a sub-discipline such as epistemology or economic philosophy.

Studying Language, Literature and Culture: The Philologies

Philology is one of the other classic linguistic and cultural studies subjects. The term describes the linguistic and literary studies of a particular language. Philology can be divided into two sub-areas :

Classical Philology

The concept of classical philology is a study of the “classical” languages Latin (Latin studies) and Greek (Greek studies). Philologists also deal with the culture of the ancient Romans and Greeks, as these form the basis for our language and culture today.

Modern philology

The recent philology deals with all languages and cultures that still exist today . Belong to the canon of subjects in modern philology

  • the German , English and American Studies : Students are trained to become experts in the German or English language and related cultures and literatures
  • the Sinology and Japanese Studies : The two programs are due to the ongoing Asian boom very popular. The focus of the course is on the languages, literatures and cultures of China and Japan.
  • the Romance and Slavic studies : They are among the “smaller philology”. Romance studies researches the Romance languages ​​and cultures, for example Spanish, French or Italian. Slavic Studies is devoted to the Slavic languages, including Russian, Ukrainian and Polish.

As a rule, philological courses build on the four pillars

  • Language practice
  • Linguistics
  • Literary studies
  • Cultural studies

If you are interested in one of the sub-areas, you have the opportunity to choose linguistics or literary studies as an independent subject.

Linguists see language as a type of system. For example, they examine the historical development of the German language and compare it with other languages. Degree programs in the field of literary studies focus on German literature. In comparative literary studies this is related to other media and compared with the literatures of other countries.

To become a regional expert with a regional science degree

Also in the regional science is about the languages and cultures of individual countries. Compared to the philological courses, geographical, economic, social and political science aspects play a greater role here . The focus varies from university to university. There are regional science courses for almost all regions on earth. For example, they deal with Latin America , North America , Africa , Asia , the Near and Middle East .

In most cases it is possible to specialize in individual countries or regions, such as Southeast Asia, during the course of the degree.

Ways in the media – from media studies to journalism

Many students of linguistic and cultural studies courses later want to do ” something with the media “. There are several ways to get closer to this goal:

Philological or regional science courses

After completing their studies, students can gain further qualifications through an internship at a publishing house or newspaper.

Degree programs that are specifically dedicated to the topic of media

  • Academically / theoretically oriented courses : Media and communication studies tend to be more of the theoretical courses. In them, students learn how communication via mass media works and how media use affects our society. The structure of the media landscape and its different formats are also an issue.

An alternative is the theater studies course . There, students examine theater from a theoretical perspective.

  • Practice-oriented study programs : The application-oriented study programs in the field of media include the study programs journalism , creative writing , public relations / PR , media management and media production . They prepare students specifically for individual fields of work in the large area of ​​media and are often designed to be practice-oriented.

Even more practice: studying to become an interpreter or librarian

Other practically oriented subjects from the field of linguistics and cultural studies are translation and interpreting and library and information science .

In contrast to philology, these courses are about translating speeches, conversations or written texts accurately into other languages .

Cultural studies or cultural studies?

In addition to the programs mentioned, many universities offer study programs called “cultural studies” or “cultural studies”.

  • Cultural Studies : The subject is to be understood as a combination of individual disciplines from the field of humanities.
  • Cultural studies : The term in the singular describes a single subject that is defined by scientific problem areas, common research methods and questions on the topic of culture.

These study programs can contain aspects from all linguistic and cultural studies courses . Depending on the university, literary or regional science aspects, media-theoretical content or topics with professional relevance appear on the curriculum. Students should choose the study program that best suits their strengths and professional interests.

Requirements for a linguistic and cultural studies course

Are you thinking about studying language and cultural studies? Then you should be interested in subjects such as literature , social sciences , geography , art or history . Interest in foreign languages ​​also plays a major role in the philological and regional studies courses. A good command of English is a prerequisite for most courses. In courses in Slavic Studies, African Studies, Japanese Studies or Sinology, it is necessary to acquire knowledge of the respective national language.

Popular subjects such as English, German, media or communication sciences are restricted in admission at many universities . Depending on the subject and university, the NC can be in the 1 range. Applicants with an average high school diploma should expect waiting times.

Cultural and linguist on the job market

Many linguistic and cultural studies courses do not provide training for a specific professional field . This is a well-known “problem”, but it is also increasingly being seen as an opportunity, as a wide range of professions is open to students. In any case, it is advisable to complete internships during your studies in order to orientate yourself professionally and to gain additional practical qualifications . Choosing a minor subject related to a job can also give the course a clearer profile and make it easier to start your career.

Occupational fields and areas of work

Depending on which subjects you have taken, different fields of activity come into question for you after graduation. Many graduates are aiming for a career in the cultural sector . Popular employers are

  • Museums, libraries, cultural offices and other cultural institutions
  • Publishing houses
  • Radio stations, television companies or newspapers
  • PR and advertising agencies
  • Authorities (e.g. press offices).

Many philological courses and subjects such as history or philosophy can on teachers will be studied. Most of the graduates from these subjects go into legal clerkship and school after completing their master’s degree or state examination .

Working abroad as a linguist and cultural scientist

Many linguists and cultural scientists would like to work in another country after completing their studies. Jobs abroad offer, for example

  • Development cooperation institutions, international organizations , foundations and NGOs.
  • Commercial companies , for example in the field of marketing or PR.
  • Universities or non-university research institutes . Graduates with a master’s degree have the opportunity to do a doctorate and embark on a scientific career.

A study visit abroad is often compulsory for philologists and regional scientists. As a rule, they spend one to two semesters in the country or cultural area they are studying. This gives them the opportunity to consolidate their language skills and gain a comprehensive insight into the respective national culture . Studying abroad is also recommended for other linguists and cultural scientists. They can improve their foreign language skills abroad and become more sensitive to intercultural activities . In many cases, this makes it easier to start working life.

Study Language and Cultural Studies