STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES AS VALUE FOR THEIR PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCIES DEVELOPMENT AND FUTURE EMPLOYABILITY
AbstractThe rationale behind this research is based on the claim that the students actively involved in university-geared extra-curricular activities (ECAs) in foreign languages gain higher employability than their uninvolved peers. With the recruitment market toughening and the universities’ budgets tightening, the role of ECAs in increasing a student’s profile needs revisiting. This paper examines the correlation between participation in free-of-charge and fee-paying ECAs in foreign languages and greater opportunities for better employment. In recognizing the value of extra-curricular input in their future, student’s views of themselves are reshaped. This outcome results in an increase in the number of student-led versus teacher-initiated activities, thus developing students’ autonomy, critical thinking, and cognitive skills. This article reports on the review and findings of the benefits of ECAs in a Russian economic university. The survey shows that employer-focused ECAs in foreign languages unfailingly provide university graduates with an added edge. The paper concludes with a proposal that inexperienced job-hunters have more confidence to seek better employment when armed with a portfolio of achievements in ECAs and non-degree courses.
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