2020-2021 courses in Modern Languages & Literatures will be offered face to face, hybrid, and online. We are working hard to adapt instruction to maximize learning, engagement, and communication in all formats. We are currently working on updates to the Winter 2021 schedule. Thank you for your patience!

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Why study foreign language?

Why language? Language is considered a critical part of a liberal arts education. Part of Grand Valley State University's vision and strategic priorities are to "inspire and equip students to be active life-long learners and global citizens" and to require global learning of all undergraduate majors. This does not mean that we expect all students to become fluent, but instead to have exposure to a second language and culture, which in turn leads to practical language skills. The Modern Languages and Literatures Department's language courses offer not just the chance to study a language, but to actively engage with another culture on its own terms. 

Multiple studies link the benefits of language learning to: 

  • enhanced cognitive ability and flexibility
  • delaying mental effects of aging
  • empathy and effective interpersonal skills
  • improved learning outcomes in other subjects

The following professions are seeing an increased need for language skills:

  • Business
  • Nursing
  • Engineering and other STEM fields
  • National Security and other government positions

Check out our majorsminors, and other language courses. Explore further reading on the importance of learning a foreign language.

Alumni Highlights

Jessica Cruz, French, BA & BS French & Public Admin, 2006

Every aspect of work in the life of Jessica Cruz is geared toward education equality.

Brooke Elenbaas, Spanish, BA Spanish, 2004

The constant thread of Brooke�s career and life have been the degree in language that she received at Grand Valley and she is so thankful for the many and varied ways this degree has helped her be successful in her life.

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