Your coursework will help you develop proficiency in multiple languages. Your classes will be small with an emphasis on student-teacher interaction and writing and speaking skills. You may choose to sharpen your languages by study abroad in France, Spain, China or other countries.
Why choose between Spanish and French when there’s a foreign language major? So it seemed to Halimah Schmidt ’16, who is concentrating in art, too. She’s planning a semester of study in Paris to feed both her majors. She’ll bone up on grammar, and, “Obviously it will be very good for my art experience being in Paris, because there’ll be so many museums I’ll be able to visit,” she points out. As for Spanish, Schmidt landed an internship in Madrid teaching English to adult professionals the summer before she goes to France.More >>
She says her experience Hamilton has been better than she dared hope for thanks to the intellectual challenge and to the community of students and faculty. Hamilton students have a diversity of experience and manage to be both “mature and fun,” in Schmidt’s estimation.
“Many of my teachers have had us to their homes and invited us to meals, which has been amazing, and talk about their experiences with the languages and the culture,” she says. “And I’m really appreciative of how friendly and open they are to meeting students and giving students an insight into what their lives have been like.”
A graduate’s progress: a job in Japan
Erica Fultz ’08 was a foreign languages major who stepped out of Hamilton College and into a job teaching English at AEON, one of Japan’s major eikaiwa or English conversation schools. “My knowledge of foreign languages helped me in both my daily life in Tokyo as well as my work life. Not only was I able to easily communicate with Japanese people, but I was able to place myself in the shoes of my students and become a very effective teacher,” says Fultz, who is now a curriculum developer at AEON.More >>
She picked Hamilton because its open curriculum enabled her to take all the language courses she wanted: Japanese, Spanish, French and German. Fultz studied in Kyoto for a semester and, on campus, earned two College Emerson Foundation grants, one with Kyoko Omori, associate professor of Japanese, to translate a short story from Japanese to English, and the other to study Japanese verbal nouns.
“The study of foreign languages,” says Fultz, “is really the study of communication – learning new points of view about the world and how to share your view with others. Learning a foreign language takes passion, but if you put in the time and effort, it will pay off more than you’d ever imagine.”
Hamilton graduates who concentrated in foreign languages are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including: