Languages currently taught at Bard include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and ancient Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit. Bard maintains a state-of-the-art language facility, the Foreign Language Lab, at the F. W. Olin Language Center, which offers the Bard community many different ways to explore foreign languages and cultures outside the regular language and literature classes.
Language in the Academic Curriculum
While each area of language study has its own intellectual and academic plan, all are connected by the study of literature and other cultural expressions through the medium of language. Most languages taught through FLCL offer an intensive format that allows students to complete the equivalent of one and a half years of language study within just a few months. (Such courses include a one- or two-month summer or winter program in a country where the target language is spoken. After studying abroad, students demonstrate an impressive increase in linguistic capacity. They also gain cultural knowledge, and the exposure to different manifestations of cultural activity makes them aware of the interrelatedness of diverse disciplines. Most students choose to continue their path toward linguistic and cultural fluency by taking courses at the intermediate and advanced levels.)
Why take a foreign language at Bard?
- Small classes—rigorous curriculum and innovative teaching
- Enhanced options for civic engagement, locally and internationally
- Well-established study abroad programs
- Unique interdisciplinary scholarly work
- Opportunities to conduct research in original languages regardless of field of study
- Countless ways to connect across Bard’s network of international campuses
Foreign Language Requirement
To ensure that undergraduate students are exposed to a range of ideas and disciplines during their time at Bard College, Bard requires them to fulfill a variety of distributional requirements. There is no foreign language requirement at Bard, meaning it is not necessary to study any language. However, there is a distribution requirement called Foreign Language and Literatures (FL) that can be satisfied by courses focused on language acquisition, or the analysis of foreign literatures and cultures taught in English. Please view the Guide to Academic Programs and Concentrations for more details.
Moderation and Senior Project
Students may major or concentrate in a foreign language, or choose to learn a language to enhance other majors or interdisciplinary programs. (The study of a foreign language provides students with the opportunity to acquire a critical appreciation of foreign cultures and literatures in addition to language skills. Integral to the process is the study of written texts—not only literature, but also texts from such fields as philosophy, history, and theology—and of nonverbal expressions of culture such as art history, music, and cinema.
Moderation requirements may vary depending on the focus language; students should refer to information provided by the specific area of study. For all FLCL students, a Senior Project can be a purely literary project (typically involving critical interpretation and translation) or any combination of literary and nonliterary expressions of a given culture.)
Recent Senior Projects in Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
“Bodies Inscribed in the Landscape: Poetic ‘Exhumations’ of Chile and Argentina’s Desaparecido”
“Love, Loss, and Liminality: Classical and Medieval Perspectives on Orpheus and Eurydice”
“Mexican Nationalism in Ignacio Manuel Altamirano’s Clemencia”
“Questioning Authority: An Exploration of Montaigne and Borges”