Q&A: What are the best schools in the U.S. to study a foreign language?

Question by : What are the best schools in the U.S. to study a foreign language?
Spanish and/or French in particular. Where is the best place to find this kind of information?

Best answer:

Answer by Lori J
Check out Macalester. Frankly, I’d choose schools in the Southeast or SW for Spanish — you’d get to practice with native speakers.

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4 thoughts on “Q&A: What are the best schools in the U.S. to study a foreign language?”

  1. Middlebury is generally considered to be the best school for languages in the US. They have an amazing intensive summer program, too, if attending the school as a degree-seeking student is not for you.

    Otherwise, you can search for school rankings online, although I don’t know of any rankings that I would consider authoritative. Language departments at most US colleges and universities are very poor in general, so if you’re serious about majoring in a language I would highly recommend completing your undergraduate degree abroad.

  2. First of all, every university in the states offers French and Spanish. Find a way to talk to students at the schools you are most interested in. Access those schools web sites and check out the language departments. Look at the classes being offered this semester/quarter. If there aren’t many, look at other universities. bonne chance and buena suerte.

  3. You visit
    http://www.languageschoolsguide.com/search.cfm
    and simply choose the language you want to study and where you want to study it. Since you are asking about universities or language schools in the US, you can choose the country USA and you will be opened to page displaying US language schools. Actually, you can browse complete list of language schools. Like for French (in USA), you visit here on this link: http://www.languageschoolsguide.com/listings.cfm/countryID/91/foreignlangID/8

    For Spanish, you go here: http://www.languageschoolsguide.com/listings.cfm/countryID/91/foreignlangID/24
    and choose your city.

  4. …labeling one best across the board would be tough. One university might be renowned for Far Eastern languages; another might be known for Romance languages. Most universities offer study abroad programs these days. Some of these programs are with affiliated universities abroad and others are in actual branch campuses of the univerities overseas.

    Middlebury College in VT certainly has an excellent reputation for this. And, I suspect it attracts many students who share this interest. I’ll give you their link below. The college offers excellent language programs for students during the year. And, it offers intensive language instruction in a bucolic US setting during the summers.

    HOWEVER, no US-based program in a foreign language can compete with an intensive language course in the country in which the language is spoken.

    So, if I wanted to pick a college to help me master Spanish and French, I would find a college or university with excellent study abroad programs in these two languages. By the way, Spanish could mean Castillian Spanish or several Latin American dialects. Some of these study abroad programs are intended to be eye opening cultural experiences. Be sure to pick one that focuses heavily on the language instruction, as opposed to the fun excursions with your fellow English speaking comrades. Of course, the reason it is better to learn a language overseas is because you can immerse yourself in the culture. If you are studying in English or if you are spending most of your days with Americans or Brits, you may not get as much out of the program as if you attended school with Spanish or French speaking students.

    When I was a student of linguistics, many of the graduate students had their language training from one of the US Military’s outstanding language schools. These were students who had enlisted into one of the services and whose testing had separated them out for Intelligence. I met kids who had studied in Monterey (CA), Annapolis and in the NSA’s program. During Vietnam War years, this was a pretty risky way to learn a foreign language…but, their language aptitude probably helped saved their lives, keeping them out of the normal batches of troops shipped off to Vietnam which had very low survival rates. I’m not recommending enlisting as a way to achieve language fluency. Moreover, you may not get your pick of languages. Chances are it would be Arabic these days with a tour in the Middle East, as opposed to French with a cushy “tour” in Paris…

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