If you free your mind with a new language or culture, your career options can follow with unexpected new opportunities, a Middle Tennessee State University professor explains in this month’s edition of “Out of the Blue,” the university’s monthly TV magazine.
The 7 1/2-minute segment of the June 2023 program features host Andrew Oppmann’s visit with Dr. Olaf Berwald, chair of MTSU’s Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts.
Berwald, who came to MTSU in 2022 after serving as a professor of German and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University, is an enthusiastic booster of his new department’s growth in learning the world’s languages, teaching them and applying those languages to real life.
“Of course, we offer strong majors, but students who major in all kinds of disciplines should think about — and many of them do — combining it with all kinds of career paths and other majors,” Berwald explains, “because employers are searching for students who stand out.
“Being proficient in a world language, and having honed their intercultural skills, their creative courage to find their voice in other languages, these are career-boosting qualities that you bring to the table as an applicant.”
Employers appreciate the flexibility that conversational skills in a language alongside English give an employee, he says. And diversifying a workplace environment with colleagues from new cultures can be nearly priceless for a business.
“For this job market, realities are that we need students who are resilient, who are creative, think outside of any box, and are also enjoying dealing with difficult or complex situations that are not always definable right away,” the new chair says.
“… Whether you want to be a nurse, many of your patients or clients will be Spanish speakers, right? Or if you want to be a pilot? Many of those who also want to really increase their strength add the global cultural competencies to what they have to offer their future jobs.”
MTSU’s “Out of the Blue” is a 30-minute monthly program that features interviews and stories on important university developments and people. It’s available to watch anytime online on MTSU’s YouTube channel and on MTSU’s True Blue TV channel. The show also airs on Murfreesboro cable Channel 9 daily at 6 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Central and on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, as well as on NewsChannel5+ at 3:30 p.m. Sundays.
“Out of the Blue” also is available as iTunes and Google Play podcasts and on other cable outlets in Middle Tennessee. Shows also are archived at the university’s MTSUNews.com site at https://bit.ly/MTSUOutoftheBlueArchives.
More information about MTSU’s Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures is available at www.mtsu.edu/worldlang.
The College of Liberal Arts incorporates 11 departments with more than 20 academic majors and course offerings from the fine and performing arts, the humanities and the social sciences. Its website is www.mtsu.edu/liberalarts.
— Gina E. Fann (email@example.com)