World Languages & Cultures | FAQ – Students
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FAQ – Students

Which language course should I take? Where do I begin?

If you have no previous language learning experience, you begin with 101 in the language of your choice (or 105 for ASL). If you have previously studied the language for which you wish to register, please follow this guideline:

  • Students with one year of language instruction should register for 102
  • Students with two years of language instruction should register for 201
  • Students with more than three years of high school language instruction are not eligible to take 100-level coursework and should take the department placement test found here. (insert link)
  • Please consult one of our academic advisers, either Dr. Ruxandra Looft or Dr. Ginger Nally, with questions about language placement. When emailing with language placement questions, please write “Language Placement” in the subject line and include your background in the language (how many years or semesters of previous instruction) and placement score result.

I'm a high school foreign language teacher- how do I book a visit?

If you have students who are learning a language that we teach, we’d love to show them what learning a language at the university level looks like!

Do I have to study abroad?

Students working on a traditional major or minor in our department are not required to study abroad although we strongly encourage an immersion experience. Students who do study abroad and are working on the Spanish major or minor will receive additional credit for having done so (ie, reduced credit requirements).
Students pursuing a second major as part of our LCP Program are required to either study or intern abroad in order to add an international component to their primary major in Business, Engineering, or Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Can I combine multiple languages?

Yes! Our department offers coursework in Arabic, ASL (American Sign Language), Chinese, French, German, Greek, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. Students may study more than one language and combine multiple majors and minors to create a unique and specialized curriculum in World Languages and Cultures. We also offer a minor in World Film Studies and collaborate regularly with International Studies offered as a second major option through the college of LAS.

I want to study a foreign language but I don’t have a career plan, what do I do?

Start taking a class with us and see where it takes you! Discover your passion for languages and cultures and work with one of our academic advisers and LAS Career Services to see how to best fit this skill set into your broader career plans. If you’re planning on teaching a foreign language at the secondary level, please contact Dr. Linda Quinn Allen for more information on our teacher education program.

I placed into a higher/lower language class than the one I’d like to take, what do I do?

If you placed into a class that does not seem like the best fit for you, please contact one of our academic advisers, either Dr. Ruxandra Looft or Dr. Ginger Nally, for assistance. When emailing, please follow the instructions outlined here.

I signed up for a minor but would like to pursue a major instead (or vice versa). What do I do?

Our department offers majors in French, German, and Spanish. If you’re working on a minor in one of those languages and would like to switch to the major path, that’s wonderful! You’re about to immerse yourself in additional language studies while gaining a more in-depth appreciation of the culture and heritage of your specialization. Some (possibly all) of the courses taken for the minor may count towards your major requirements (this varies by language). To switch tracks from a minor to a major (or vice versa), please schedule an appointment with one of our academic advisers, either Dr. Ruxandra Looft or Dr. Ginger Nally, or stop by their offices in 3220 and 3230 Pearson Hall.

I placed into a course higher than 101, can I receive retroactive credit?

Students who place into 102 and successfully complete the class with a grade of C or higher are retroactively awarded credit for 101. Students who complete a sequence of two courses at the intermediate or advanced level with a grade of C or higher are awarded with retroactive credit for 101 and 102.

I speak a language not offered at ISU, how can I receive credit for this?

If you speak a language other than English and one not offered for instruction in our department, you may schedule an exam for credit through OPI or CLEP. Students taking the paid exam for credit (offered at different testing sites throughout the country) may earn up to sixteen credit hours of language credit determined by their score and skill level. Credit earned through these exams may be used to satisfy the LAS language requirement.

I am a native speaker of a language offered in your department. Can I still take coursework with you?

Yes! Native speakers of the languages we offer may take content courses in our department (literature, culture, business classes, etc) but may not enroll in the traditional language learning classes we offer. Spanish native and heritage speakers may only enroll in courses numbered 304 and higher. Native speaker students interested in coursework in the other languages we offer should consult with faculty members in that language section or with one of our academic advisers, either Dr. Ruxandra Looft or Dr. Ginger Nally.