“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela
The world needs more speakers of multiple languages. When you study another language you become a resource for understanding.
Numerous studies have shown that language learners outperform others not only in language study but in all academic areas.
Language learners and bilinguals work better than others in settings of cultural diversity. Less than 20% of Americans are multilingual.
Knowing the language of the original capitalizes on the rich array of texts artifacts that make up the social and historical context for the great works of the Western Tradition. Access to native idiom and melody reveal a power and beauty not otherwise accessible.
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex - responsible for problem-solving - lights up when you negotiate meaning between two or more languages. (From Ted talk)
It also gives you access to new cultures and offers perspective on your own culture and attitudes.
While all Austin College students have the opportunity to study abroad, speaking a foreign language allows you to experience a culture in deeper, more meaningful ways, leading to lifelong friendships and passions.
What you will learn
The department offers sequences of courses in the programs and some courses in English for majors and interested students.
In elementary courses, you gain familiarity with language and culture. Many students begin a new language at college. With persistence and hard work, a high level of fluency is possible by graduation. The elementary courses are taught energetically and interactively by regular faculty.
In intermediate courses, you develop fluency and significant cultural awareness. The intermediate language courses are the bridge to more advanced work. Many students continue a language started in secondary school at the intermediate level in college. By the end of the fourth semester class, we aim for a fluency that would allow you to flourish in a semester-abroad program.
In advanced courses, you will master key elements and works of the culture and language you study. Further study advances your fluency and cultural knowledge and provides access to works otherwise not available to undergraduates. These courses provide the capstone experience for majors and minors.
In cultural and historical courses taught in English, you will deepen connections with the Western Tradition and sharpen your communication skills.
- Stacey Battis
- Lourdes Bueno
- Robert Cape
- Ruth Cape
- Truett Cates
- Patrick Duffey
- Collin Foss
- Julie Hempel
- Wolfgang Lueckel
- Elena Olivé
- Martin Wells
Adjunct and Visiting Faculty
Each program has its own requirements for majors and minors. Click the program links below for specific information:
Jordan Family Language House
Jordan Family Language House is a residence hall specifically designed to encourage students to immerse themselves in one of the modern languages and cultures. Nationally recognized as a leader among language house programs, for over 30 years the JFLH has provided students with the opportunity to earn academic credit while "living" the language and culture, using the target language in everyday, authentic contexts, whether sharing the latest films and music from many cultures, cooking culturally appropriate meals, or playing games, singing songs, or learning dances.
Native speakers in each language live in the residence to help students engage in on-campus study of their chosen language.
Spotlight on Archeology -- Dig and Field School
Students have the opportunity to travel to Greece and Israel during the summers and be part of an archaeological excavation. Students will take part in all aspects of the excavation, digging, cleaning of artifacts, cataloging, etc. while learning about modern archaeological methodology and about the history of the sites where they are working. Additionally, frequent trips to other nearby sites give students the chance to expand their knowledge of the region and its history. All these experiences, and the excitement of getting to know another culture, await students who wish to join these projects. Austin College credit is given for successful participation.
After Austin College: Our Alumni
My experience in the Spanish language program was a great influence in my life. I use Spanish every day as an immigration lawyer. I am able to communicate with very educated businessmen in Spanish to those not so educated and can distinguish between the different nuances from different countries because of my exposure to Spanish… [Read More]
Class of 2012 – Studying Spanish at Austin College was invaluable and gave me deeper insight into the Hispanic culture. It prepared me to confidently communicate with and treat patients while in dental school, now during my pediatric dental residency, and eventually in private practice. Learning Spanish is definitely something I would recommend for anyone… [Read More]
Participating in the Spanish program at Austin College was a very positive experience as it complimented my Mexican-American upbringing and expanded my knowledge of the Spanish culture. I was able to refine my Spanish writing skills and learn how to articulate myself professionally. I also discovered I enjoy poetry, specifically the literary characteristics associated with… [Read More]
Majoring in Spanish at Austin College was one of the foundational building bricks of my life. I always knew I wanted to study Spanish, but AC made that goal life-changing. AC opened the doors to amazing unique opportunities like living in the Spanish wing of the language house, and designing my own year abroad in… [Read More]
International Marketing Director, American Heart Association – My Spanish major is the defining moment of my career, and one of the best decisions of my life. It is the backbone of my entire career path, from international political consulting in Latin America to my current role as International Marketing Director for the American Heart Association.… [Read More]
There were many classes and subjects that weren’t in my wheelhouse at Austin College, but the Spanish language came easy to me and it was fun. Although I had no idea as a 19 year old how I’d “put it to use” as most people always asked, I knew it was a natural choice for… [Read More]
- The Clara Zauk Binkley and James Binkley Scholarship for an Outstanding Student in Foreign Languages was established in 1978 by Mrs. Margaret Binkley Collins of Sherman, in memory of her mother who was the wife of an early Sherman merchant and investor.
- The John Cameron Memorial Scholarship for an Outstanding Student in French was established in 1980 by Ms. Margie Boston, Mr. Albert Cameron, friends and family.
- The Carl B. and Florence E. King Fellowship for an Outstanding Student in Classics was established in 1976 by The Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation of Dallas, Texas.
- The John Peyton and Mary Louise Shoap Fellowship for an Outstanding Student in Modern Languages was established in 1975 by Mr. Henry L. Shoap of McKinney, Texas, in memory of his parents.
Many CML majors decide to go abroad for a semester or a year. They have successfully studied in places such as Perugia, Rome and Florence (Italy), Alicante and Toledo (Spain), Córdoba (Argentina), Xalapa (Mexico), Paris (France), Marburg, Berlin and Munich (Germany) and Vienna (Austria).
JanTerm is more than just another month at school for the students of Austin College—it’s an adventure between traditional semesters where students immerse themselves into unique opportunities. JanTerm classes allow students to travel abroad, explore real-world careers, and stretch their talents in focused courses on campus.