Studying a foreign language opens doors to the understanding of other cultures and the world around us. The faculty believes that students should cultivate knowledge of at least one foreign culture through its language as an essential part of a liberal arts education. The Department of Foreign Languages and Literature offers three distinct programs in French Studies, German Studies, and Hispanic Studies. [For majors in Chinese, Japanese or East Asian Languages please see the Asian Languages and Cultures Program.] Faculty members are specialists in the literature and culture of their target language and are either native to or have spent considerable time in the foreign countries of their teaching.
As students progress through the curriculum in the target language, they increasingly come into contact with culture, history and literature of countries where the language is spoken. This approach, in tandem with the department faculty's multifaceted pedagogy, helps students progress in fluency as they gain a greater appreciation for cultural difference and develop an ability to analyze and write in the target language. Graduating majors in the Foreign Languages and Literature department will be able to: 1.) actively and thoughtfully converse in the target language, 2.) appreciate cultural and linguistic differences, 3.) write analytically in the target language, 4.) apply theoretical, cultural, literary and historical concepts to current and past events, 5.) cultivate awareness of important political and cultural issues in countries where the target language is spoken.
The department is fully committed to the concept of study abroad as a complement to students' intellectual trajectory as they learn about culture, history and literature of another country or countries. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in endorsed study abroad programs in Dijon, France; in Granada, Spain; in Oaxaca, Mexico; and in Passau or Munich, Germany. Details of these and other study abroad programs may be obtained from department advisors and the Office of International Programs.
The department faculty supports the learning concept of a residential atmosphere and encourages students to participate in a living-language program. Students have the opportunity to live in university-owned houses on campus and communicate in the target language within a small group environment. Applications for language-based theme houses are available through the Office of Residence Life.
Students may select from six major areas of study: