The modern foreign languages program is designed to meet the wide range of needs of our student body. The program has the dual goals of communicative competence and cultural awareness. The curriculum is designed so that the students can enter the program in a course that matches their own level of proficiency.
Students with no previous experience in foreign language study begin with a 101 course; those who have already studied German or Spanish can take the language placement exam in order to begin their study at the appropriate course level. The language placement exam is used to determine initial placement into a modern foreign language sequence prior to taking language courses at Northwestern College. Once a student is in the language sequence, the student must complete the 201-level course in that language to meet the Integrative General Education Language and Culture requirement (LA). A student may repeat the placement exam prior to beginning the language sequence, with the highest score used for placement. Once a student is in the language sequence, the language placement test cannot be used to meet the Integrative General Education requirement. The language placement exam is offered in early January, mid-March, late-May, late-August and mid-October. Please see the college calendar for exact dates. For further information, contact the modern foreign languages department.
Students who are already bilingual in Spanish and English can major in Translation and Interpretation, developing their skills in these two interrelated fields.
The department offers a major and a minor in Spanish, a major in Translation and Interpretation: Spanish-English, a minor in German, and a one-year ESL certificate for international students.
A major in Spanish can be used as preparation for teaching, graduate study, library science, foreign language education, comparative literature study, employment in Latin America and for a career in translating and interpreting. In conjunction with another major, the Spanish major can lead to enhanced employment possibilities in business, social work, teaching ESL, medical work, travel, missions, the legal profession or library science. A Spanish major can also be combined with a secondary education endorsement (see education section in this catalog).
All students majoring in Spanish are required to study at least one semester in an approved study abroad program. Northwestern College, in cooperation with other colleges and programs, provides the opportunity to study in different locations throughout Latin America and Spain. The student must be accepted into the program both by the department and the off-campus study committee. Students who study abroad in our program remain Northwestern students and are able to maintain most of their financial aid. Students majoring in humanities with Spanish as their primary discipline, although encouraged to study abroad, are exempt from the study abroad requirement (see humanities section in this catalog).
Although students majoring in a foreign language are required to study abroad, the Spanish minor is designed so that the student may begin the study of the language as a first-semester freshman and still complete the minor on Northwestern’s campus. However, summer study opportunities are available, and are recommended for all minors. Students majoring in humanities may elect to have Spanish as their secondary discipline (see humanities section in this catalog).
The minor in German is designed with a required semester of study-abroad. After completing the 101-202 language sequence at Northwestern (typically one to four semesters), students then study for one semester through an approved program in Germany.
The ESL Certificate of English Language studies is designed for international students seeking to improve their English language skills.