Special Programs and Opportunities

Practice your language skills with native teaching assistants, study overseas, pursue original research and enjoy the culture of the language you’re learning.

Do you want to expand your language skills and discover more about the culture you’re learning? We offer many opportunities every week in the Department of Modern & Classical Languages, from conversation hours to student research. We know that practice makes perfect and learning a new language works best with collaboration.

Click below for opportunities within our language department. Each section includes information for their respective languages: 

CONVERSATION HOURS
Arabic

All levels of Arabic proficiency are welcome. If you do not know how to speak Arabic, you’re welcome, too. Practice the language, learn about Arab culture, discuss movies and meet other Hope students who have an interest in the Arab world.

Chinese

Join the Chinese Cultural Table every Thursday at 7 p.m. for informal conversations with native Chinese speakers. Try a variety of Chinese snacks and play Chinese chess or a game of Majiang and Go. Special events are also planned such as the Moon Festival, the Lunar New Year Celebration and Chinese calligraphy. Contact Ce Gao at ce.gao@hope.edu for more information.

French

Pause Café: Join us on Wednesdays this fall from 4–5 p.m. at Lemonjello's Coffee (61 E. 9th Street) for conversation with Aurélie Caillard (aurelie.caillard@hope.edu). All levels of French are welcome. There is no particular agenda or topic of discussion — just casual conversation and games in French.

German

German Stammtisch (conversation group) meets every two to three weeks off-campus. Stammtisch is open to all levels of German speakers and welcomes students, faculty, staff and community members to participate. The Stammtisch schedule is set each semester and dates are reflected on the campus event calendar.

For card players, there are two German card games that make Euchre pale in comparison. No, really!

Professor Forester plays both games as often as he can, so make sure to contact him if you're interested in being included.

Spanish

We offer Spanish conversation groups for students enrolled in Spanish V and VI. These groups are led by senior Spanish majors and minors. For additional information, contact Professor Woolsey at woolsey@hope.edu

Language House

Are you interested in more opportunities to practice your French or Spanish language skills and learn more about their cultures? Consider living in the French or Spanish Language House.

Find more information on La Maison Francaise and The Spanish House

Teaching Assistants

Every year, native teaching assistants from France, Germany, Japan and Spain spend the academic year at Hope College. Our TAs teach conversation classes, offer tutoring, organize events for the department, live in the language houses and share their knowledge and culture with our students.

Meet our native teaching assistants

Student Research

In all of our upper-level courses, you’ll get a chance to work alongside faculty and staff mentors to pursue original research. Talk to your professors about opportunities to get involved.

Celebration of Undergraduate Research

Every year, language students present their latest research alongside 100+ students who represent all fields studied at Hope College. In 2016, eight students participated from the modern and classical languages department:

  • Claire Trivax: "A Modern Medea: Fitting Into a Digital Age and the Methodology Behind Writing a Play"
  • Elizabeth Perkins: "Portuñol: Portuguese-Spanish Contact in Uruguay"
  • Emma Hardy, Thomas Jenkins, Madison Mertz: "Analysis of the Portrayal of Dietrich Bonhoeffer"
  • Jayne Kessel: "Spanish Linguistics in the Medical Field: Interpretation"
  • Jordan Hill: "In Search of the Virgin Mary: Saint Mary and the Construction of National Identities in Latin America"
  • Julia Fulton: "Liberty, Equality, Sisterhood: The Role of Women in the French Revolution"
  • Madeline Brochu: "A Crisis that Spans the Atlantic: A Comparative Study of the Housing Crisis in American and French Cities"
  • Shannon Gill: "An Unrecognized Inspiration: An Analysis of the Influence of Édouard Manet"

Our students have also presented at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) hosted in cities around the country — most recently at the 2016 NCUR conference, held at the University of North Carolina Asheville.

Internships

Are you looking for an internship in your chosen language? Visit Hope’s internship page for more information. Because each opportunity is unique, we encourage you to ask faculty members about opportunities in each language. Take a look at some of our past student internship opportunities:

French
  • Gordon Food Service Headquarters
  • French Embassy in the United States Cultural Services
  • Lutheran Social Services of Michigan – Refugee Resettlement
  • Nibakure Children's Village in Nyamata, Rwanda
  • Summer Internships in Washington D.C. at The Stimson Center for Global Security
German
  • Freiburg, Germany Semester Programs
  • Berlin, Germany Semester Programs
Mandarin Chinese

Asia Option is a guide for native English speakers interested in exploring educational, professional and leadership opportunities in Asia. For more information, view options for Taiwan and China.

Spanish
French Honors Program

The Global French Honors Program challenges students to attain a wider knowledge and a deeper understanding than is required for your major, in terms of reading, writing and thinking about French culture, history, literature and the arts. You’ll consult with the professor of the 300- and/or 400-level course in which you’re registered, and the reading can include supplementary literary texts, historical and art-related documents and news or scholarly articles that give a greater understanding of the course topics.

As an Honors student, you will be able to attend the French Cultural Studies Colloquium, which hosts several visiting speakers per year, and can participate in the co-curricular French program, including the film series and events at the French House.

To attain “Honors” status, you must:

  • Take at least one 300-level course and one 400-level seminar class
    or
  • Take two 400-level seminar classes

For each of these courses, you must read at least one extra text and write a research paper of 1​0 pages or more for a 300-level class, and a research paper of 12​ pages or more for a 400-level class.

To earn the Global French Studies major “with Honors,” you need to achieve the following:

  • Earn a 3.8 GPA in the major
  • Read a supplementary text selected by you and the professor of the 300- and/or 400-level course for which you’ve registered
  • Research and write more extensive papers
Off-Campus Study

Are you interested in enhancing your language experience? One of the best opportunities to intensively learn your language is to study off-campus.

Learn more about off-campus study

Awards and Scholarships
French

The Joseph W. Yedlicka Awards

  • Full tuition summer session: seven weeks including housing, half-board and some additional living expenses. Awarded by the American University of Paris and Pi Delta Phi.
  • Full tuition summer session scholarship: six weeks, including housing and board, to Aix-en-Provence. Awarded by the Institute of American Universities.
  • Full tuition summer session scholarship: six weeks, including housing and board, to Aix-en-Provence. Partially funded by the National Dean's List with Pi Delta Pi.
  • The above awards are accompanied by a Pi Delta Phi Travel Grant of up to $1,500 to help cover transportation costs for one round-trip ticket from the U.S. to the host site only; the travel stipend does not cover additional or post-summer session travel.

The Mary E. Guthermuth Award

  • Full tuition summer session scholarship: five weeks, including housing and board, to the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi awarded by Pi Delta Phi. Details, eligibility requirements, and an application are available on the Pi Delta Phi website.
German

Delta Phi Alpha Scholarship

  • $1,000 and $2,000 scholarships for members of the Delta Phi Alpha Honor Society who are planning on studying in Germany the following year. Download the application and talk to Professor Forester if interested.
Mandarin Chinese