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Every single frustrating thing you’ll get if you study modern languages

Pipe down medics, this is the hardest degree

Though most others think modern language students pay £9k a year to watch films, have chats instead of exams, consume vast amounts of croissants and go on an extended holiday, the reality is oh so different.

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“Omg say something in French!” is the most boring and infuriating thing we hear on the daily

There is nothing worse than the spotlight brightly shining on us when someone finds out we speak another language. The story goes:

“What do you want me to say?”

“Anything! How about, my name is George and I’ve got a zebra?”

We rifle through our brains to think of a response, but honestly – we’ll probably make it up.

Scrap that, “Everyone speaks English anyway” is actually the most boring and infuriating thing we hear on the daily

Funnily enough, you can’t just Google Translate everything. Give it a go next time you’re asking for directions in Tokyo, we dare you.

And no, we don’t know all of the naughty words

Not through a lack of trying.

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Non-linguists think you can only be a teacher, or at best, an interpreter

Though teaching and interpreting are noble professions, we ask you to kindly leave your ignorance at the door, because in actual fact, linguists are highly sought after. Lawyers, politicians, diplomats and all types of businesses require people who can speak other languages, so how do you like them apples?

The lack of contact hours means you’ve reluctantly become your own ‘inspirational’ motivator  

Going to uni each day for a mere hour of learning seems counter-productive. Surely we should be speaking 24/7 with our teachers and lecturers, cementing these skills so that we may leave university able to announce with pride, “Yes, I am multi-lingual.”

Alas, we don’t live in a utopian world of language learning – we must go on comrades, attempting to remember whether it’s der, die or das, solo.

Which makes the amount of homework frankly absurd


Language students absolutely have more work than other students. Period. Let’s lay it out: the impossible translating, the vocabulary learning, the grammar drilling, the endless newspaper readings – all on top of the history and politics essays and modules on culture.

Don’t even get us started on having to watch films as preparatory material. While the medics are getting their money’s worth slicing up cadavers, we have to sit in dark, stuffy languages labs watching boring French New Wave flicks that we could’ve got out of the local library.

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Taking two languages seemed like a genius idea at the time

Now, accidentally mixing the Italian subjunctive into Spanish orals is a daily occurrence. “What’s that word again, in English?” is one of our most used phrases – basic vocabulary has long been pushed out of our cluttered brains to make room for sentence structures and conjugations.

Non-linguist friends get irritated when we accidentally slip into German while conversing. Yeah, it may seem like we’re showing off, but honestly, our minds are just a mangled mess – let us malfunction.

Only the strong can hack it until the end

Actual size of a third year Chinese language class

Not everyone is cut out for the linguist life. Numbers will dwindle, class sizes will shrink and only the worthy will make it to the finish line.

The feeling that you’ve failed when you speak English in class can be crippling

The judging looks from our peers and teacher are enough to make us call home, weeping down the phone that we should’ve chosen Sociology. We can’t even keep a low profile, head tucked under a hoodie at the back of the class, because Frau Weber finds pleasure in picking on the weak.

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 Obviously the year abroad is the reason our degree is lightyears better than everyone else’s 

It’s like a compulsory ‘gap yah’ – we have a solid reason to talk about ‘that time we went travelling’ non-stop. Sipping espressos, munching ice creams, hiking the Great Wall and enjoying Oktoberfest are all part of the curriculum, you know – soaking in the local culture is extremely important.

And we all have a secret respect for our peers studying the more challenging languages 

Arabic? Japanese? Mandarin? Damn Daniel, that’s impressive. Absorbing grammar is hard enough without having to learn it in a completely different alphabet. We salute you, brave friends – rather you than us.

J.P. Morgan are looking for ambitious, driven modern language students to join their Market Analyst Program – find out more here