Say what? ¿Qué?: foreign languages at Calvin

Say what? ¿Qué?: foreign languages at Calvin Explore Calvin's extensive foreign language offerings

Calvin students travel all across the globe to learn about different languages and cultures.

Calvin offers one of the most extensive foreign language programs among Christian colleges, with world-class opportunities to develop your language and cultural engagement skills. Depending on your proficiency, there are several ways to make the most of our world language offerings, whether you just want to get the requirement "out of the way," or if you want to add a major or minor to complement career plans in business or engineering.

Q. I've taken some language in high school; was it enough?

A. Students who have taken at least four years of one foreign language (with a grade of C or better for each term) are exempt from Calvin's language requirement. If you speak a second language fluently you may also be exempt.

If you've taken less than four years in high school, you should take a language placement test to determine how many semesters of college-level foreign language will be required. If you've already taken French, Spanish or German, complete the World Language Assessment online at before you come to PASSPORT orientation. If you've taken another language, you may take a placement test during PASSPORT.

Q. Help! I'm not good at languages and want to complete my language requirement as quickly as possible.

A. Talk with your adviser about the language options that might work best for you. There are several ways to fulfill the requirement, from fast-tracking to a more leisurely pace. When you start classes, sign up for a language tutor (free!) and you'll get through it!

Q. I want to learn a language that will boost my résumé and career options.

A. Good thinking! Consider these options, and talk with your adviser during registration:

  1. Taking German gives engineering majors an option to do a summer internship in Germany.
  2. Consider Chinese or Japanese if you're looking at a business major.
  3. Spanish and French are often good choices for careers in diplomacy or international development.
  4. Undecided? Take a language that interests you!

Q. With the major I've chosen, I'm not sure I'll have time to take a language.

A. There are five programs—engineering, accounting, nursing, fine arts and recreation—that have a modified language requirement. If you've taken at least two years of high school foreign language (with a grade of C or better), you will be exempt from the language requirement in these five programs.

Reasons to study a foreign language in college:

  1. Proficiency in another language gives you an edge when applying for internships or jobs.
  2. It enhances your understanding of different cultures and communities.
  3. It encourages respect for others.
  4. It helps you contribute to making the world a better place.
  5. It equips you to negotiate an increasingly global economy.

Calvin offers majors and minors in these languages:


Note: Though not a major, Korean proficiency courses are also offered.

Get certified to teach theses languages through Calvin's teacher education program:


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