Why Study Modern and Classical Languages?
The essence of a Christian liberal arts education is to interact with all of God’s world from a Christian perspective. Modern and Classical Language study equips students to do so especially well by challenging them to master a language, to ask significant questions and seek answers, to develop original ideas, and to become intellectually self-motivated, life-long learners and servants of Christ. Many Modern and Classical Language students at Wheaton are double majors, combining a language with majors such as archaeology, biblical and theological studies, business/economics, communication, psychology, philosophy, applied health science, education, or international relations.
Why Study Modern and Classical Languages at Wheaton?
You’ll learn the language, history, and culture of your chosen major, for sure. But as you are mentored by our engaged and discerning faculty and nurtured by our close-knit student community, you’ll also explore challenging questions regarding the ways your identity as a Christian is shaped by culture.
Pick from study abroad programs in Chinese, French, German and Spanish — all of which include home-stays, generous hospitality of host families, and the chance to build relationships with Christians from other cultural contexts. You’ll learn to translate your own faith and see God, yourself, and your culture through the eyes of others.
Courses in the Classical Languages section introduce students to the various cultures and civilizations of the Ancient Near East, from the Neolithic through the Koiné periods. Courses in Chinese, French, German, and Spanish introduce students to the issues and lifestyles of contemporary society in these cultures.
French, German, and Spanish sections also introduce students to the literary, historical, artistic, and religious development of the language regions via study of representative works of various literary and textual genres and related art and cultural forms.
In today’s global context, knowing a second language and studying abroad are a plus to any employer. Through Wheaton’s liberal arts focus, you’ll become proficient in areas that will help you stand out from the crowd.
- French: Wheaton in France, Wheaton in Quebec, Violet Bergquist Scholarship Award, Internships, French Table, LLC, Student Employment
- German: Wheaton in Germany, Internships, Fulbright Scholar Program, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Program, Stammtisch, LLC, Student Employment, Edith D Shaffer Memorial Scholarship Award
- Mandarin Chinese: Chinese Language Culture Club, Wheaton in China, Chinese Program Monthly Newsletter, Mandarin Table, Asian Studies Track - Interdisciplinary Studies, Pui Tak Center, LLC, Student Employment
- Spanish: Wheaton in Spain, Wheaton in Costa Rica, Pilgrimage to Santiago, Wheaton in Mexico, Spanish Table, Internships, Violet Bergquist Scholarship Award, LLC, Student Employment
- Classical Languages: Class of ‘59 Hawthorne Scholarship Award, Student Employment, LLC
What Will I Learn?
- Classical Languages: Beyond those fields that employ the languages directly, classical language study opens, trains, and equips the mind and the person for almost any future path of life, even if they do not directly “use” the language in their work. Time devoted to language will open new horizons. Students will glimpse the worlds from which our civilization derives, acquiring skills and disciplines that empower the intellect and sharpen the mind. Students may consider the new Certificate in Latin for Classical Christian Education, housed in the Classical Languages section.
- French: In French courses, students at Wheaton increase their understanding and appreciation of, and empathy for, the peoples of the Francophone world through study of the historical, philosophical, religious, and artistic development of French and Francophone cultures. Knowledge of French opens the doors of companies in France and in other French-speaking parts of the world (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and North and sub-Saharan Africa). As the world’s fifth biggest economy and number-three destination for foreign investment, France is a key economic partner.
- German: The German Studies major equips students for a myriad of diverse occupations, such as professions in business, international relations, politics, theology, philosophy, science, technology, engineering, music, literature, and media. Germany is the most populous member of the European Union and plays a key role in international trade, US employment, the G8, the G20, and NATO, and in the past decade has made major contributions to literature and film.
- Mandarin Chinese: Mandarin instruction at Wheaton offers students the chance to explore this fascinating culture and language under the guidance of instructors who are intimately familiar with the needs of North American foreign language learners. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world and for students interested in majoring in business at Wheaton, developing conversational ability in Chinese significantly increases professional marketability.
- Spanish: The Spanish program offers a rich array of courses at all levels on campus, as well as overseas, as part of study-abroad programs in Spain, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Students who choose to study Spanish increase their understanding of and appreciation and empathy for the peoples of Hispanic cultures through classroom instruction and personal interaction with native speakers of Spanish in the United States and abroad.
Students in any major can complete a minor by taking 20 hours of select courses listed 300-level and above. Minors are available for the following:
The Certificate in Latin for Classical Christian Education provides students with a specialized interdisciplinary education for teaching Latin in a classical Christian environment. The program proceeds from the belief that the best preparation to be a teacher of Latin in a Christian school is the intensive reading and analyzing of the monumental works of Latin literature with an eye to how they communicate the great ideas of the past to us today. One unique feature of Wheaton’s program is that it seeks to integrate Christian faith and classical learning, to ask whether and how Christ and the Christian virtues might be found in the (pre-Christian) classical world. Upon completing this program, students will have a broad training to prepare them to be teachers of Latin and the classical tradition in primary and secondary schools.
Consult the course catalog for full listing of current courses available in this field.