By Sierra Stanfield, COM 250 Reporter
Edited by Katy Felker, COM 303 Editor
MOUNT BERRY, Ga.- Starting next fall, students in the foreign language department will have new options for completing their major classes.
There are two new options for French and German majors having a difficult time fulfilling classroom requirements. The main goal is for these students to begin their studies at Berry and then go abroad to complete classes that are relevant to these majors. In order to make this easier, certain course requisites may be waived and replaced by classes taken abroad.
While Spanish majors are also encouraged to study abroad, it is less difficult for them to fulfill major requirements on campus. There are six Spanish professors in the department, which makes it possible for Spanish majors to complete class requirements in the typical classroom environment.
The French and German departments each have one professor, as well as a professor that is shared between the two languages. This faculty shortage has made it difficult for students to graduate on time, particularly without an abundance of directed studies.
Directed studies have their place, but foreign language department chair Julia Barnes addressed why studying abroad is a better option.
“We think it’s better for the students to be in a good, robust class,” Barnes said. “And it’s also not great for professors, because it’s a lot of outside work.”
As a result, students will be encouraged to start their major classes at Berry and then take a semester, or even just a summer, abroad to take higher-level courses in their major.
While time abroad assists language acquisition, that is not the only benefit of studying abroad.
“Even if your linguistic skills do not improve that much, you will learn a lot about the culture,” French professor Vincent Gregoire said.
For many students, particularly those pursuing education or who will later work abroad, this cultural experience is essential.
Faith Baker, a freshman French and education major, plans to spend two semesters abroad in Paris, France next year to improve her language skills and enrich her understanding of French culture.
“As much exposure as I can get to the culture and the language as possible, the better it’s going to be for both my understanding of the language and how I can apply that to the kids,” Baker said.
Not every student is able to study abroad, and the second option in this new track was designed for those who will study exclusively at Berry. Instead of going abroad, students will complete as many classes as possible within the foreign language department. Then they may seek approval for classes outside of the foreign language department that remain relevant to their major.
These programs will officially begin next fall, but have already been implemented for some students who have requested these alternative options early.