No matter how you say it, URI is big into languages. And big into mixing languages with other disciplines to strengthen your career outlook with global companies in the U.S. and around the world.
Take Alyssa Kolton ’11, whose fluency in Hebrew helped land her a kinesiology internship with the Israeli National Soccer Team. That internship, combined with her fluency in five foreign languages, attracted the attention of the Miami Jewish Health System, where she’s a biofeedback therapist using electromyography to retrain the muscles of patients with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and stroke effects.
It’s very beneficial, no matter what your career field, to become fluent in other languages. It gives you a competitive advantage over their peers in the workplace. ~Alyssa Kolton ’10
She says the majority of her patients there are French, because France’s health care system doesn’t offer the high level of rehabilitative services available in the U.S., and that although she works in the U.S., without her language skills, she wouldn’t be able to communicate with her patients.
URI offers degree programs in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, and the Classics, plus courses in Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, Modern Greek, Portuguese, and Russian. We’re the only New England university with a Chinese Language Flagship program, and the only school in Rhode Island offering a Spanish master’s degree. And then there are the dual degree programs, plus opportunities to double- and triple-major, which let you be creative about dovetailing your language degree with other disciplines in ways that make a lot of sense for your career future.
Global Business Management major Austin Brunero ’13 chose URI specifically for our international business program. He spent a semester abroad in Spain, took Spanish classes, and landed an internship in the Latin America division of the global gaming company GTECH. Now he’s a business analyst for a global energy management company helping businesses in Colombia and other parts of the world improve their bottom line while consuming less energy. Dan Belbey ’13, who transferred to URI specifically for our dual-degree German-International Business program, took his German language and international business degree to an internship with the launch and control department at BMW Headquarters. Now, he’s back in Hamburg, Germany on a U.S. Student Fulbright Grant to pursue his graduate degree in logistics and supply chain, an interest he says was inspired by URI Professor Douglas Hales‘ Global Supply Chain class.
Our German program is the country’s second-largest, thanks in part to our innovative and award-winning International Engineering Program, now a model for similar (but different) programs around the world. Earn two degrees in five years, and spend a full year abroad — half working in a paid engineering internship for such companies as BMW, Nokia Siemens, or Bayer, and half studying at a partner university in Germany, France, Canada, Latin America, Spain, or China. By breaking down language barriers to trade, research, and engineering, the program has a job placement rate of nearly 100%. But International Engineering isn’t limited to German. You can study engineering alongside French, Spanish, and Chinese, too.
Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design majors can also earn a degree in a “fashion” language – French or Italian – and study abroad at such schools as Mod’Spe, a Parisian fashion marketing and merchandising school, or Accademia Italiana, considered one of the best fashion and design schools in Italy. We’ve also blended French with pharmacy, in a one-of-a-kind, six-year program that gets you a Pharm.D. and a B.A. in French, two hospital rotations in France, and a big advantage in the marketplace.
Alyssa would agree. “It is very beneficial, no matter what your career field, to become fluent in other languages. It gives students a competitive advantage over their peers in the workplace,” she said. “URI is known for thinking multi-culturally and thinking big, so shouldn’t we as students and graduates be doing the same, and striving to integrate into today’s world?”
Pictured: Alyssa Kolton ’11 in the kinesiology labs at URI