Foreign Language Learning and Proficiency

At an institution dedicated to international education and study abroad, proficiency in a second language is essential. All students are required to achieve proficiency in a language other than English through the intermediate level; some study abroad programs require that students demonstrate higher language proficiency as a prerequisite for participation. Proficiency through the intermediate level can be demonstrated by completing the third language course in any language sequence offered at Kalamazoo College (numbered 103 or 201, depending on the language) or by an appropriate level of achievement on an examination developed or approved by the College. Languages offered regularly include Chinese, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish. Credit earned from College Board Advanced Placement examinations, International Baccalaureate examinations, and dual enrollment or transfer units at the appropriate level may be used to satisfy the language proficiency requirement. See the Policies -> Admissions Policies section of the Academic Catalog for specific information on earning units of credit for examinations or work completed elsewhere.

Students wishing to satisfy the College language requirement in a language other than those taught on campus in regularly scheduled courses should contact the Registrar for information concerning certification of "intermediate proficiency" (the College language requirement). Certification is most typically determined by successful completion of an intermediate level course or a professionally administered proficiency examination. Students should note the cost of proficiency testing to determine "intermediate proficiency" is the responsibility of the student. Students interested in satisfying the language requirement in this way may wish to investigate intensive summer language courses offered at Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Beloit College.

In some cases, students may take advantage of the Neglected Language Program (NLP) at the College, which make individualized instruction available to qualified and approved students in selected languages not normally offered at Kalamazoo College. Students wishing to study a language through the NLP should have one of the following interests: study abroad at a program connected to the language (contact the Center for International Programs for information on study abroad programs); significant application of the language to an intended career; relationship of the language to the student's ethnic background; and/or relationship to an intended Career and Professional Development Internship, Senior Individualized Project, or major program of study. It is important to note that the program is not available in all languages at all times and that the College cannot guarantee that students returning from study abroad with coursework in a less commonly taught language will be able to use the NLP to complete the College language requirement. All requests for language study through the NLP must be approved in advance by the NLP coordinator and are subject to the availability of a qualified instructor and funding. Funding for NLP courses is limited and students should not expect to be funded for more than one NLP course in their college careers. Participation is limited to students with sophomore standing or above with a minimum 2.5 grade point average.