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Foreign Language Study


The following guidelines have been established by language departments for all language study, and they are particularly useful for students contemplating studying abroad.
  • If a student has had a language in high school which he or she plans to continue studying at Hamilton, it is better to take a course in the language in the first semester of the first year. Students deferring language instruction would be better served if they reduced to a minimum the “hiatus” in their language studies.
  • While many students find even a brief exposure to language study beneficial, students wishing to attain proficiency in a language should be encouraged to take the language at least through the end of the basic four or six semester sequence.
  • Students who think that they might concentrate in one or more languages should start their study as early as possible at Hamilton. 
  • It is best not to start two new languages simultaneously.
  • Students derive maximum benefit from at least two consecutive semesters of language instruction at the college level. They should, therefore, be discouraged from dropping a language after only one semester.
  • Although students’ long-term plans are never entirely clear at the outset of their undergraduate years, they should be advised that there is invariably a language requirement in graduate school. If a student has any intention of pursuing graduate work after Hamilton, he or she would be well advised to do some language training while at Hamilton so as not to have to begin it afresh four years after high school.
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