Which Language Should I Choose?

Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Latin, or Spanish?

How many language classes are required?

  • To graduate from K, students must demonstrate at least intermediate-level proficiency in a second language, either by completing the third language course in any given language sequence (103 or 201, depending on the language) or by a placement exam result.

Are you coming to K with experience studying a language other than English?

Yes
  • Take the required placement exam!
  • Do you enjoy that language?
    • If yes, your placement exam will determine your course level and you can continue your language study at K. You will have higher proficiency when you study abroad and when you graduate!
    • If no/not really/you want to try something new – check out the six different languages we will offer at K this year! Think about your personal interests and hobbies, study abroad plans, academic interests, and possible career paths. Talk to faculty during orientation.
No

Check out the six different languages we will offer at K this year! Think about your personal interests and hobbies, study abroad plans, academic interests, and possible career paths. Talk to faculty during orientation.

How do you decide which language to take at K?

  • Continue a language you started in high school (by taking the required placement exam)
  • Start a new language that interests you (starting with 101) – see below for tips in choosing.
  • Do both! Many students take more than one language while at K
  • Remember: you are required to take the placement exam for any language studied in high school or for which you have even minimal proficiency – even if, at this point, you do not intend on or are not sure about continuing in that language at K.

When are the 101 (beginning level) courses offered?

Fall

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Latin
  • Spanish

Winter

  • Spanish

Spring

  • French
  • Spanish

Why is it important to start language study early?

  • Language classes are fun and interactive, and you will get to know other students.
  • Language classes are taught in a sequence and starting right away ensures that you can continue with the language the next quarter. Many 101 courses are only offered in fall (see above).
  • If you start early you will have better language skills when you study abroad (and graduate!).

What if I want to start a new language in college? What things might I consider?

  • Is there some area of the world I would like to study abroad, visit, or live and work?
  • Does a language connect with my other interests or hobbies? A soccer player might want to learn Spanish, French, or German; a fan of anime may want to learn Japanese, etc.
  • Am I considering a career in the health professions? Spanish may be useful?
  • Would I like to learn a less commonly taught language, thus gaining a unique skill (Chinese, Japanese, or Latin)?
  • Am I involved in choir or orchestra, and could German or Latin benefit me?
  • Do I want to go into the Peace Corps, Doctors without Borders, Teach for America, or travel for a religious organization or NGO? If so, should I learn Spanish, French, or an Asian language?
  • Am I interested in international business and politics? If so, might I consider French or German for the European Union, Chinese or Japanese for Asia?
  • Am I fascinated by art or art history? Which literary traditions or cultures interest me? Should I consider studying the language of that country?
  • Am I interested in ancient history and culture? Should I consider studying Latin, Chinese, or Japanese? Or European Renaissance culture: French, German, or Spanish?
  • Am I studying science, medicine, and/or engineering, and could a language be useful when doing research and mastering STEM terminology? Might German or French be useful for doing research abroad? Might Latin or build disciplinary vocabulary?
  • Am I fascinated by different alphabets or systems of language notation? Should I consider Chinese or Japanese?
  • Am I thinking about graduate school? Medical school? Seminary? Should I investigate which language(s) are required or recommended in the area I plan to study?