Department of Modern Languages and Literatures – CMC


The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures has nine tenured or tenure-track professors. The faculty has published, edited, or translated 20 books in their respective fields. Claremont McKenna College offers over 40 courses each year in Arabic, French, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. Students in French and Spanish can also take courses at Ramona, Pitzer, and Scripps. The Department also utilizes language residents who are university students from other countries and who teach conversation classes and organize cultural activities such as theater trips, cooking classes, and dance lessons for our students. It’s vitally important for our students to study another language and culture because it helps them become global citizens. Language is such an important and powerful tool in understanding a different culture. Its impact and power definitely goes beyond just learning a new vocabulary. Language has moral, human, universal values. (speaking Korean) One thing that’s really important is that from day one, from the beginning, you will have a cultural experience in the classroom. And we also have something called language tables. And so once a week, we meet at the dining hall with all the students from the different levels of, you know, the language whether it’s Korean or Arabic and we meet with the professor and we get to eat lunch while speaking Korean. And I think it really does help us get exposed to a language more. We have a large and extremely diverse faculty. The strength of the faculty, the strength of the program, and the strength of the methodology, all that have made our department to be a distinguished department. (speaking Arabic) Thanks to my study of another language, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people and to get to know people in a different way. I’m not just limited to only English-speaking people but I can also now engage and interact with people who speak Korean, who speak Arabic, or whatever language that you’re learning so it’s definitely expanded my opportunities a lot. (speaking French) Over 50% of CMC students study abroad but in our Modern Language Department, all of our majors study abroad. They are allowed to go abroad, study, and transfer credits back not just for their Language major, but for their other major as well. I studied in Granada, Spain and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I got to travel all throughout and really tap into a whole different culture. I plan to study abroad maybe more than once. I’m looking at programs in Brazil, in Nicaragua, and also in Morocco. I’m really excited that I might be able to be taking classes abroad in their host language. I think that’s like a really authentic way to learn. (speaking Portuguese) Studying another language, I think, has enriched my life and changed me for the better. I love movies and I love to read and so being able to do that in more than one language has absolutely been fulfilling in my personal life. It enriches my life in the sense that I definitely feel like I have the opportunity to get involved with other cultural activities on campus that I wouldn’t normally. (speaking Spanish) It’s always exciting to see what our Language majors do after they graduate from CMC because they find that they have a lot of possibilities open to them. We have students who go into International Consulting. We have students who go off and work for PR firms. We have students who work in Sports Marketing. We have students who teach or work for an organization like Teach for America. We have students who work for non-profits. So they’re using their language and their intercultural competency in many different ways. Studying a foreign language, I would say, is going to guide me into something where I can branch out within the community so I think that it gives me the opportunity to sort of tap into a whole other demographic. I think it’s really important especially at CMC for Gov majors and Politics majors and everyone who’s doing some kind of Social Science to learn another language just because it’s a good practice in sort of taking yourself out of the center. So I think it’s especially important for us to remind ourselves that the US isn’t the only place in the world. I definitely recommend learning a foreign language or two. The more, the better, (laughs) yeah.

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