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Skidmore College
World Languages and Literatures

World Languages and Literatures Minors


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The study of languages has become essential to the education of global citizens as the world grows more and more internationally connected, and as nations become increasingly diverse. The ability to communicate effectively with people from different parts of the world not only enhances our capacity to think outside the boundaries of our native culture, but is also a practical skill that can be applied to any career or line of work.

The Department of World Languages and Literatures offers a comprehensive selection of courses in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, as well as courses in the Self-instructional Language Program in Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian. The department seeks to develop students’ ability to understand, speak, and write the languages of their choice, and to read with appreciation literary and cultural texts in those languages. By discussing written and visual texts, students both enhance their linguistic ability and refine their understanding of cultural traditions and perspectives. Global citizenship goes beyond language proficiency, and for that reason the department’s upper-level courses are designed to deepen the student’s familiarity with the cultures associated with the languages they study.

The department supports academic and extracurricular programs on campus, in the local community, and abroad to enhance understanding of world languages and cultures. Department faculty participate in the college’s interdisciplinary programs such as Asian Studies, International Affairs, Latin American and Latinx Studies, Gender Studies, and Intergroup Relations.

The department is the primary resource for the college's language requirement. Any three- or four-credit course taken at the appropriate level in a world language (i.e., not in translation) fulfills the language requirement. Additionally, the requirement can be met by taking two two-credit self-instructional courses in the same language.

The mission of the Department of World Languages and Literatures is to develop in our students a cultural competency and language ability that enable them to confidently engage with other cultures and participate fully as global citizens, with knowledge that is transferable to any field they pursue.