Learning a second — or third — language is a major advantage, whether you’re in a classroom or applying for a job. The Department of Modern & Classical Languages represents a wide variety of languages; choosing any one of them will give you a leg up in life after graduation.

Not only will you broaden your horizons by being able to speak conversationally in a second language, but the skills you learn in the process are proven to help in many other areas of study.

Whether you choose to major or minor in a classical or modern language, you immediately give yourself an advantage over many of your peers: the ability to communicate effectively across cultures and become a bridge-builder for your future organization.

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Matthew M. Internship in Gunzenhausen (Germany)
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Katelyn K. A Year in Paris, France  (French)
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Madison M. Vienna Summer School, Austria (German)
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Janna K. A Year in Japan (Japanese)
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David L. A Semester in Tunisia (French/Arabic)
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Erica R. A Year in Beijing, China (Mandarin)
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Colin W. A Semester in Salamanca, Spain (Spanish)
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Audrey R. Travels in Xi'an, China (Mandarin)


More than 20 countries and over 2 billion Muslims use Arabic on a daily basis. As one of the six official languages of the United Nations, getting a minor in this language can help serve as a bridge between Western and Eastern cultures. By knowing Arabic, you open up opportunities in travel, finance and government. We offer off-campus programs in Morocco and Tunisia, where courses are taught in Arabic, English and French.
Our classics program is unique in our department in that it focuses on a combination of major and minor courses in ancient languages and a focus on the ancient world, which could mean history, philosophy, political science, art or theater. We study ancient civilizations along the Mediterranean Sea, with a special emphasis on Greece and Rome — placing you in direct contact with the major sources of Western civilization (both Christian and non-Christian).
The Dutch language is considered our closest relative to English — they sit on the same Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. Dutch is the official language in a few Caribbean countries, and is close to Afrikaans, spoken in a few African countries, so learning the language can take you many places, or even help you our right on campus! We offer Dutch as demand warrants.
If you're hoping to work in global business, learning French can be a major plus on your resumé — it's the second most important language for business. Plus, the language is spoken on five continents and regions in the world (Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North America). We offer French as both a major and minor. Consult one of our faculty members for ideas on how to double major.
Studying German at Hope gives you an opportunity to learn about this strong economic power and influential partner in the European Union. With conversation hours, opportunities in internships and after graduation programs, and a strong love of German card games, our German department offers much to students interested in pursuing either a major or a minor.
The connection of Japanese culture and Hope College is a long one: one-third of Hope's 1872 graduating class was international students from Japan! Since then, we've built a strong program for our students seeking to learn the language and culture of a country we're so connected with. We offer Japanese as both a major and minor, and can guide you to opportunities after graduation.
Our Chinese department is designed for students who want to develop their knowledge of Chinese politics, economy, history and archaeology. If you're hoping to work in global business, learning Mandarin is one of the smartest decisions you can make, as it's routinely named the "most useful business language" in the world after English. We offer minor programs for Mandarin.
Our department explores the language, traditions, strong history and literature of Russia. By studying Russian, you're putting yourself into the shoes of hundreds of millions of people and learning the language of the largest country in the world. We offer a minor program and an off-campus study opportunity in Krasnodar, Russia.
Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the United States. By learning the language, you open up doors to an entire population and have the opportunity to participate on a local, state, national and international level. Our Spanish department is very active: from conversation hours to our Spanish House, we offer many opportunities to study the language outside of the classroom. Spanish is offered as a major and minor.

Why Major in a Second Language?

With our program's emphasis on conversational language skills, a language major from Hope equips you to communicate with people and in contexts you'd never be able to otherwise. Learning a second language gives you insight into the greater human experience.  Plus, studies show that a second language contributes to intellectual development through enhanced cognitive and analytical skills.

Even while you’re a student, studying and learning a second language opens new doors. Through our special programs and opportunities such as conversation hours, language houses, foreign film clubs and lectures, we offer a taste of the culture you’re learning, right here at Hope. Knowing a second language also gives you an advantage while traveling and studying abroad. We encourage language majors and minors to study off-campus for a semester, year or summer while at Hope.

Language majors enjoy many unique opportunities after graduation as well. Possessing fluency in a second language is seen as a major advantage for many companies during your job search.

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  1. Altares de los Muertos

    Placeholder Image Event image for Altares de los Muertos

    Spanish 124 classes will create & display altars as they do in Mexico for Day of the Dead. The Hope College community & campus visitors are invited to view & then vote on the winning altar.

    Altares de los Muertos
    Martha Miller Center for Global Communication
    Altares de los Muertos 3:00 pm - Martha Miller Center for Global Communication, 1st Floor Rotunda