The objective of the program is to develop language skills in the offered languages at all levels of competence and to lead students to a broad appreciation and deep understanding of diverse literary and cultural traditions of Spanish and French expression throughout the world. In upper-division classes, the aim is to develop analytical and writing skills along with oral proficiency through intensive critical study of literary texts, Francophone and Hispanic literature, cinema, culture, and history.
Upon graduation, majors should be able to demonstrate advanced competence in written and spoken language, and the ability to read critically, interpret analytically and write coherently about texts produced in French- or Spanish- speaking countries. They should be able to identify and evaluate the specific nature of a wide array of literary genres. Majors are encouraged to explore all periods and genres of literature in Spanish and French, as well as a wide variety of critical approaches.
Other languages, such as Italian, Latin, and German, are offered as lower division courses. Additionally, the Department offers a self-instructional program (SILP), an intensive language study in many critical languages for which it does not have regular classes, including Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Korean. Following the format and the methods of the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP), students study individually and meet with a native speaker two or three times per week for intensive verbal drilling.
The Department offers two options for study abroad: the programs provided by the SUNY International Office as well as its own faculty led off campus courses. Students are encouraged to spend a semester or a year abroad, for which appropriate course credit is granted. Summer study abroad may also receive course credit. Additionally, the Department offers faculty led off campus courses in Spanish- and French-speaking countries, with recent trips to San Andres, Colombia (Spring 2012) and Paris, France (Spring 2013).
On campus, French, Spanish and Italian students are encouraged to join the three SUNY Oneonta Spanish, French and Italian Clubs, Hola, Trait d’Union and Prego. Students participate in club activities, events and trips organized every year.
Why study a foreign language?
The ability to speak a foreign language and the knowledge of another culture are highly prized by employers and lead to a significant degree of satisfaction in the workplace and in one’s personal life. A major in foreign language is only part of what makes you employable and does not necessarily dictate a career. Other helpful experiences include internships, hobbies, work experience, and involvement in campus activities. Excellent knowledge of a foreign language and a mature, informed appreciation of a foreign literature open doors to many professions. For this reason, an education in Spanish or French provides ideal preparation for careers not only in academics but also in a wide range of fields from law and diplomacy to journalism and the arts. Others work in primary and secondary education, business, government and a variety of nongovernmental agencies and international organizations. At the office of Career Development, you can learn more about what career paths you can pursue with your major. But overall, the most important is to choose a subject you enjoy and will succeed at over your four years.
For information on how to become certified to teach a foreign language in New York state, please consult the website of the New York State Education Department.
In order to satisfy the master’s degree requirement for professional certification in New York state, our Foreign Language education major, with a concentration in French or Spanish, for secondary or elementary education, along with any of our PreK-12 Master’s Degree programs will suffice. The Office of Teaching Initiatives of the NYS Education Department describes four possible routes to an acceptable master’s degree for professional certification in New York state.