In today's increasingly global society, a well-rounded education should include foreign language skills and cross cultural understanding. The international nature of business and politics, as well as the changing demographics within the US, have dramatically increased the demand for individuals who can transcend linguistic and cultural barriers. These individuals will hold increasingly pivotal roles in industry, government, and education.
Gonzaga's Modern Language Department offers degree programs in French, German, Italian, and Spanish, as well as three-year programs in Chinese and Japanese. The Department helps students attain foreign language proficiency and prepares them for advanced studies. Faculty use modern methodologies and teaching aids, and instruction emphasizes conversation, literature, and culture. New state-of-the-art classrooms offer students opportunities to perfect their listening comprehension skills and further increase their awareness of foreign cultures through the use of videos, audio tapes, and interactive computer programs. A flexible placement policy allows incoming students with foreign language skills to begin their course work at the most suitable level.
Our faculty believe that through the encounter with a foreign culture, a student develops tolerance for difference, an understanding of other cultures and languages, and a greater understanding of oneself and one's own culture as seen from new perspectives.
Mastery of a foreign language noticeably enhances students' career prospects, especially when combined with study in other disciplines. Department graduates have used their language backgrounds in fields such as business, journalism, the travel industry, teaching, sociology, and political science. Because of a strong interest in social justice and a desire to be of service to others, several language graduates spend a year or two volunteering prior to attending graduate school or entering the job market. Through programs such as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Americorps, and the Peace Corps, students find their secondary language skills indispensable. Additionally, many students have goals concerning working in law, government, and academia; thus, they attend a variety of graduate programs at diverse universities.