Language Study

Studying a foreign language in the World Languages and Cultures (WLC) program at Drake University is rewarding and productive from the very first day of class.

You will work with language faculty twice weekly in order to develop communicative skills, examine aspects of grammar, and learn about the language's culture. You will also work with native speakers in groups of six or fewer. The native speaker helps you learn how speakers of that language really speak while the language faculty helps you practice grammar and is able to answer your questions in English. By focusing on the development of functional communicative competency, you will learn to use the language rather than merely learning about the language.

Through the standard sequence of courses, you will gain initial emphasis on speaking and go on to develop skills in listening, writing, and reading. Additionally, most languages offer topics courses that change from semester to semester.

World Languages and Cultures welcomes everyone to our program. Students with previous language knowledge should plan to take that language's placement exam

Courses are offered in American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

Culture is not, of course, neglected in these courses. The faculty of World Languages and Cultures is well aware that culture is embedded in every language and it is examined both explicitly and implicitly through a variety of materials. Culture plays such a prominent role in our language courses that many of our courses fulfill the requirements for the Areas of Inquiry in the category of Global and Cultural Understanding.

Special cultural events are held on campus throughout the year and you are also encouraged to participate in activities throughout the greater Des Moines community.

In addition to classroom work at Drake, you have many options for continuing your language studies in other countries as part of the study abroad program.

Although we do not currently offer majors or minors, Drake does allow you to design an individualized major or minor. You would work with both your primary academic advisor and a faculty member from WLC in order to determine a set of courses that meet your academic goals.

Additionally, you can pursue a Certificate of Competence. The Certificate of Competence in Language and Culture is designed to allow you to demonstrate your language competence along with your understanding of that language's cultural contexts. Undergraduate students from any school or college are eligible to apply.

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