General Resources for Students with Foreign Language Skills
These resources are a good place to start if you hope to apply your language skills. In addition to checking out the sites listed below, try typing the name of the foreign language you’re seeking into job search engines A&S Career Services recommends. Try asking your language professors if they have any advice for you in your job or internship search.
Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Arts and Sciences Career Services to speak to a career advisor about how to put your foreign language skills to use in a job or internship. Call 607-255-4166 or stop by the office in The Cottage on the Quad to schedule an appointment.
The best comprehensive, one-stop resource with information on everything you might want to do abroad: study, travel, work as an au pair, work on a farm, teach, volunteer, intern, etc. Even includes information by country about living abroad, finding housing, etc.
AIESEC-USA (from the French acronym for the International Association of Students in Economic and Business Management)
An international student-run organization which offers paid internships each year in business and other fields in over 100 countries. AIESEC offers internships lasting from 2-18 months in a broad range of fields, such as Education, Development, Business Management, and Technical. Most interns will receive a salary that provides for the cost of living and small additional expenses. Note that application for AIESEC internships is possible only through campus chapters.
Contact: Cornell AIESEC President
Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships
Over 2,300 $5,000 scholarships are available for students receiving Federal Pell grants. An additional $3,000 in funding is available for those studying the following critical languages: Arabic (all dialects), Chinese (all dialects), Turkic (Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgz, Turkish, Turkmen, Uzbek) Persian (Farsi, Dari, Kurdish, Pashto, Tajiki), Indic (Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, Sinhala, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Sindhi), Korean, Russian, Swahili.
Boren Scholarships, funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), provides up to $20,000 ($10000 for the semester, $20000 for the year) to undergraduate students. Preference is given to those willing to commit for 2 semesters. Scholars must work in the Federal Government in a position with national security responsibilities for 1 year within 3 years of graduation.
Cornell Contact: Dr. Kristen Grace
Cornell Abroad, 300 Caldwell Hall
(607) 255-6224; email@example.com
British Universities North America Club (BUNAC) Work Abroad
BUNAC offers a range of exciting internship, work abroad, summer camp, and volunteer abroad programs. Established in 1962, BUNAC is a nonprofit work and travel expert and has been helping young people work and volunteer abroad for over 4 decades. BUNAC destinations include: Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, South Africa, Peru and Cambodia. For a few hundred dollars (price depends on location), BUNAC will procure your work authorization and visa and will provide support services, discounted travel insurance, job listings, and social events.
Critical Language Scholarship
Sponsored by the US Department of State and the Bureau of Educational Cultural Affairs, the CLS Program sends participants overseas for 7-10 weeks of group intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences. The program is fully-funded. Students may study the following languages at the following levels:
- Arabic, Persian: Advanced beginning, intermediate, or advanced level
- Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish, Urdu: Beginning, intermediate, or advanced level
- Chinese, Japanese, Russian: Intermediate or advanced level
Offers general resources for all kinds of travel—teaching abroad, study abroad, language schools, etc.
Internships are available in various departments. Arabic, English, French, and Spanish are the four working languages of Interpol. Although applicants apply to specific departments, not divisions, the language applicants speak may play a part in their placement. Participants are given a stipend of €550/month but must find their own accommodations.
*National Language Service Corps
NCLS members assist in emergencies and crises throughout the United States and the world by providing translating and interpreting skills. This is not a full-time position; rather, members will be called on for short-term assignments when their spoken language is required. Languages of greatest need are: Croatian, French, Haitian-Creole, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Spanish, Standard Arabic, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese. When called upon, pay is based on Federal Government pay scales.
One Small Planet
Provides general information on working abroad, along with links to international job search sites.
While language skills are not required to volunteer with the Peace Corps, knowledge of French or Spanish will be particularly helpful to qualify you to work in some regions.
Peace Corps Campus Coordinator; B13 Warren Hall
Cornell University; Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-7693; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships
Some chapters of the Rotary Club offer $26,000 grants for one year of academic study abroad.
UN Refugee Agency (UNHR)
The UNHR has offices in over 126 countries around the world, many of which have internship opportunities lasting 2-6 months. Applicants request their placement country when applying.
Opportunities in the United States
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on careers as interpreters and translators.
Try searching using the name of the language you speak as a keyword. Most listings are U.S.-based. You can also search for employers seeking students with a specific major, which may be helpful if you’re majoring in a foreign language.
Council of American Ambassadors Fellowship Program
Sponsored by the US Department of State, 6 fellowships are available to undergraduate students entering their senior year. The program combines mentoring by former US ambassadors, internships at the Department of State, and academic coursework at Georgetown University. Housing at Georgetown University and a $6,000 award are provided to each participant. Students are automatically considered for this fellowship when they apply for a Department of State, Washington D.C.-based internship.
Search with the language you’re seeking as a keyword to find federal government job opportunities in areas as diverse as social work, park service, budget analysis, construction, and more.
Combined Domestic and Abroad Listings
Foreign Languages and Area Studies (FLAS) Program
Undergrads and graduate students can apply for funding for a year or a summer of intensive language and area study. The program gives priority to those studying languages that are not commonly taught.
Search with the name of the language you speak as a keyword to find opportunities with nonprofits around the world.
The United Nations has a variety of internships available. Examples of internship placements include posts with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Population Fund, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. The six official languages of the UN are Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
US Agency for International Development (USAID)
USAID offers both paid and volunteer internships throughout the academic year and over the summer. Positions are available within regional bureaus and technical sectors, depending on student interests, and may be in Washington D.C. or abroad.
For Graduating Seniors/Graduate Students Only
Graduating seniors with an interest in study or research abroad can apply to this year-long, all-expense paid scholarship. Many serve as teaching assistants abroad. Spots are limited, so the application process is highly competitive.
U.S. Dept. of State
While language skills are not required for positions as Foreign Service Officers and Foreign Service Specialists, language skills will give you an edge over monolingual applicants. The application process is extensive and extremely selective, so make sure to prepare far in advance and expect a long processing time.
WorldTeach offers year-long programs for those who want to teach in a foreign country. There is a program fee, but teachers receive small stipends (amounts depend on location) for living expenses while abroad.