Foreign Language


The Foreign Language Program offers students an opportunity to study a variety of foreign languages, including more commonly taught languages such as Spanish, Italian, French, and German, and less commonly taught and critical languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, and Russian. In addition, the program offers language courses for people with specialized reasons for language study such as Spanish for Nurses, Teachers, or Law Enforcement Officers, as well as formal language instruction for heritage speakers. Language offerings vary depending on student interest and demand.

Classes in foreign languages are conducted in both conventional teacher-fronted settings that include opportunities for small-group learning and also in roundtable format.  Maximum enrollment in foreign language classes is ordinarily 15 students or fewer. Courses in less commonly taught and critical languages typically have smaller sections.

The philosophy of the Lewis University Language Program stresses immediate practical language skills and communication. Emphasis is on how to use the language in culturally appropriate ways rather than simply learning facts about the language. Very little English is used. Each foreign language course carries three semester hours of credit.

Students are encouraged to carefully select the language of study and to consider taking one of the less frequently taught critical languages, the knowledge of which is especially valued today.

Foreign Language and Culture Minors

A Foreign Language and Culture minor is a flexible, interdisciplinary program that focuses on a specific linguistic and geographical region, requires three semesters of language study, and allows students to choose three additional courses that will enhance their understanding of the culture and the language they wish to pursue. Students can choose these three additional courses from among numerous offerings, including a fourth semester in the target language.

This minor not only prepares students to become more proficient in a foreign language, but it also documents their dedication to global citizenship. Because employees with proficiency in foreign languages and intercultural understanding are already in high demand, those who complete the minor will be able to distinguish themselves as they compete for jobs. This minor is, therefore, especially beneficial for majors in Aviation, Communication, Criminal/Social Justice, English, History, Journalism, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, and Pre-Med or Pre-Law – all those who plan to pursue careers in particular geographic regions of the U.S. or the world, and all those in business, education, or nursing who may be interested in making themselves more marketable by preparing themselves to work in global companies or not-for-profit agencies.

For a capstone or integrating experience, students are strongly encouraged to engage in a Study Abroad opportunity.

The minors offered include Arabic, Chinese, East European (Polish and Russian), and Spanish languages and cultures. These are critical languages currently having great applicability. Every Foreign Language and Culture minor must complete nine hours at Lewis University: at least one course in the target language and two other appropriate upper-division courses. The two upper-division courses and an additional three credit hours may not apply to any other minor or any major offered at Lewis University.

Students who pursue minors in Arabic or Chinese or East European Language and Culture are encouraged to enroll in the Ethnic and Cultural Studies minor. Spanish Language and Culture minors should consider enrolling in the Latin American and Latina/o Studies minor.  Foreign Language and Culture minors who add another minor must use another (different) set of courses to fulfill the requirements of the other minor.

Only declared Foreign Language and Culture minors may petition the Program Director to take an examination (Prior Learning Assessment) to earn credit for prior learning in a foreign language.  See the Program Director for more information. Testing fees apply and a maximum of six credit hours may be earned.  Qualifying AP, CLEP, and IB scores apply: see relevant charts in the General Information section of this catalog.