Do you love learning about other cultures? Taking classes in world languages and cultures helps students develop the skills they need to communicate effectively, while also cultivating critical thinking skills, a comparative perspective on global issues, and the ability to work with diverse groups of people in a multilingual setting.
Do you want a major that is flexible? Our major allows students to gain experience and explore career paths in language teaching, translation, and cultural studies. Some of our students opt for a minor or second major in a related field where language skills are in high demand, such as Business, Healthcare Studies, Geography (Tourism), English, Political Science, Communications, or Education. A good number of our students complete our Certificate in Translation along with the major or minor, and many choose to major in one language and minor in one or more other languages to further enhance their knowledge of world languages and cultures and their future employability.
Do you want to be part of an active, multicultural community? Our small class sizes allow faculty and students to get to know each other and to learn from each other. Our advanced language courses typically have a mix of students learning a new language and native or heritage speakers (those who grew up speaking the language at home) who are there to further develop their oral and written communication skills and to learn about the diversity of world cultures where our languages are spoken. Students often become friends both in and out of the classroom, and lifetime connections are formed.
Do you want to study with faculty who care about you? Our professors work closely with students to make sure you graduate with the tools you need to succeed. While in our program, students have leadership opportunities and cultural experiences with our language clubs; they may write for our departmental newsletter, tutor in our Language Resource Center, join our international honor society Phi Sigma Iota, or participate in a study abroad or study-travel experience. Faculty will also be there for you when you are ready to graduate, helping with networking and applications for jobs, fellowships and graduate schools. Your success is our success!
Why Study World Languages?
Studying a language in college is not just for those who want to become foreign language teachers or translators. If you are interested in other cultures, peoples and languages–as many students are in this age of increasing globalization and multiculturalism–you should consider making the study of a foreign language an important part of your college experience.
Learning a language can improve your overall academic performance.
Studies show that there is a link between second language learning and increased cognitive abilities in students. Students who learn languages score higher on standardized tests and have higher academic achievement rates overall. Learning languages develops the skills that are at the core of a liberal arts education, such as:
intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, mental agility, and making interdisciplinary connections
self-confidence, including increased self-reliance, ability to adapt new situations, pro-activity, and willingness to take on responsibilities
people skills, such as effective interpersonal communication, leadership, presentation skills, ability to do team-work, and cross-cultural understanding
Foreign language study will teach you to think creatively, communicate effectively and interact appropriately with people from different cultural backgrounds.
Learning languages makes you more marketable as a job candidate in almost every field.
Language is key to increasing one's understanding of today's world. The internationalization of travel, the arts, media, politics, science and technology, the economic interdependence of the world's nations, and the increasingly multicultural character of American society have created a very real demand for multilingual professionals in nearly every profession.
Knowing a second (or third) language is a real asset in today's marketplace, not only because you might need to use that language to communicate with native speakers in the U.S. or abroad, but also because of the personal, cultural and intellectual skills you develop when you learn a foreign language. In the words of the Wall Street Journal, ''successful managers of the future are those who have ... the ability to understand different cultures and different ways of doing business.''
Studying languages and interacting with people from other cultures while in college is the way to acquire that ability. For many employers, your ability to communicate in a foreign language may be equally important to the specialist skills you will need to work in that field.
A language major or minor will add value to your undergraduate degree.
Learning another language will enrich your life.
Most people who choose to study a second language do so for reasons that are neither practical nor academic; they do so for personal reasons. Some dream of being able to travel and to discover other countries, some want to learn the language of their ancestors to communicate with family members or to rediscover their roots, still others enjoy a pastime–such as a love of the arts, international sports, or fine cuisine–that could be enhanced by learning a language. Whatever your reason, whatever your passion in life, learning foreign languages open doors to the world.
All language programs are supported by free foreign language tutors and state-of-the-art technology in our Language Resource Center. We also offer courses in English on world cultures, literatures, and translation.
Language Resource Center
The Language Resource Center (LRC) is a computer-based language lab, tutoring center, and study space for students in the world languages and cultures department. Students can complete workbook listening activities for their language courses, get extra help from tutors or by using online resources, listen to world music or watch foreign language films, take the Spanish placement test, or complete online homework assignments.
The department strongly encourages students in our language programs to study abroad. In collaboration with the Center for International Education, we offer short-term, faculty-led summer study abroad options in Canada, Costa Rica, Italy, and Spain. Through the Center for International Education’s study abroad office, students can find other programs to study abroad for a summer, semester, or a full year in many different countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
For those students who are close to graduating and are interested in furthering their language experience abroad, we encourage you to explore Teaching Assistantships in either Italian or Spanish. These are programs in which you are paid to be an assistant teacher while living in either Italy or Spain. You can find more information about this at this link.