We offer students the opportunity to learn languages in a unique environment.
Our faculty and staff are committed to helping students develop skills that will allow them to communicate with the language they study, not simply to learn about the language.
How do students learn to communicate with their language of choice? The structure of the program offers an explanation. For each of the languages currently offered at Drake, the opportunity to practice grammar and to have questions answered in English is available from a professor with a Ph.D. in the language. These faculty members meet twice weekly with students, train the native speakers, design curriculum,write a culture blog specific to the language, and do many other things to assist students improve their proficiency as they study. Additionally, students work with native speakers in groups of six or fewer in conversational practice sessions. The native speaker helps them learn how speakers of that language really speak. This experience simulates, on a small scale, the way in which students learned their first language.
A significant percentage of each language student’s grade is determined by the student’s performance on the midterm and final examination. For these examinations, the professor has an oral interview with the students to determine how well they are able to talk about the materials the students have been studying.
Our experience has shown that many students benefit significantly from this approach. Former students have gone on to teach in China, receive Fulbright fellowships, direct translation services, do non-profit and church work in El Salvador, complete Master's degree programs, and do business work as well.
Drake also offers numerous study abroad programs for each of
the languages offered. Some of our students who have studied abroad have reported that they were much more proficient than studentswho had studied language in a more traditional approach. We strongly believe that self-motivated and responsible students will come out of World Languages and Cultures able to communicate effectively with native speakers of the language. (You can find out more information about Study Abroad opportunities here)
Currently, World Languages and Cultures does not offer majors or minors. Students are able, however, to obtain a certificate acknowledged on their transcript that verifies their linguistic and cultural competence. Additionally, several majors do require students to study a language, e.g., International Relations, International Business, and Vocal Performance. Studying a language also complements several majors very well. For example, students who major in history with an emphasis on Asia might get a much different view if they are able to read documents in the original language.
The faculty and staff of this program are committed to assisting students as they develop their linguistic and cultural competence.
Please do not hesitate to contact us as you explore the information here.