Program Overview World Languages and Cultures program offers several languages: American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. Professors work with students as they gain functional proficiency in a language other than English, develop cultural understanding and become responsible global citizens. Whether students are preparing to study or live abroad, enhancing professional development, or pursuing personal interests, there are many opportunities offered through the program.
Language Courses Focusing on the development of functional communicative competency, students learn to use the language rather than merely learning about the language. Students meet with their professors two days a week and focus on communicative skills, culture, and grammar. One day a week, students meet with a native speaker in groups of six or fewer to enhance oral proficiency.
Placement Exams and Enrollment Students who have previous experience studying the language must complete the placement process to ensure that they begin study at the level for which they are prepared. First-year students will take the placement exam at home before attending summer orientation; all other students can take the placement exam during specified times during the academic year prior to registration.
Drake University does not have a general language requirement. However, several academic programs require language study (Education endorsements in French, German, Japanese, and Spanish; the Global Ambassador Certificate; International Business; International Relations; and Vocal Performance).
Faculty The program has professors in each of the seven languages offered. Each professor is highly qualified and experienced. Our faculty are professionally engaged and routinely present their work at regional and national conferences for teachers of languages.
Requirements for Certificate Students are able to take classes in World Languages and Cultures to complement any major across all the Colleges and Schools at Drake and some are required to do so (International Relations, International Business, Vocal Performance, and Secondary Education with teaching endorsement in French, German, Japanese, and Spanish). Drake does not offer majors or minors in languages; we do, though, have an option for students who would like a “Certificate of Competence in (chosen language) Language and Culture” designated on their transcript. This is an option for students of all of our languages except American Sign Language.
The requirements include a minimum of 14 credit hours, including two courses at the advanced level in your language of choice and a study abroad experience.
Career Options Graduates who have studied in the World Languages and Cultures program are prepared for a wide variety of careers depending on what they studied in addition to their language studies. Many students who have paired language and business studies will enter immediately into the business world. Students who have studied International Relations often enter into non-profit work working with foreign visitors, refugees, international students, or NGOs. Some of our students have joined the Peace Corps, been awarded Fulbright Scholarships, etc. Of course, graduate school is another option.
Additional Activities To complete the academic offerings, the language program organizes additional opportunities for students to improve their linguistic competence and gain additional cultural knowledge. Students can, for example, interact with members of the Des Moines community who speak the language at events such as Día de los Muertos. Occasionally, the program sponsors other activities such as a karaoke night, an origami workshop, and weekly language tables.