Modern language majors aim for fluency, not just good grades

Learning a language is no easy task. So balancing a new language at college, along with the other core requirements that are already overwhelming is quite a task. For modern language students here at Seton Hall University, it is an everyday reality.

For an Asian Studies major, a 24 credit requirement from the language department has to be met in order to graduate from the University.
While she doesn’t think it is hard to pass the language classes here at Seton Hall, senior Asian studies major Vivian L Wong is not just here to pass the classes. Her real aim is to be fluent in Japanese.

Photo courtesy of Adeline Fagel

“I study about four to six hours per week on Japanese alone,” Wong said.

According to Wong, dedicating a lot of time to the language is truly beneficial, as it helps her fully absorb the materials covered in class. Wong also stated that studying language at Seton Hall has been very helpful to her college life.

Her Japanese professors have provided her with not only help in her Japanese classes, but also helped her in terms of career advice and suggestions. Being a Japanese student has also opened up Wong’s career opportunities.

“I have recently been hired as manager for a Japanese restaurant opening up in New York City called Zauo,” said Wong.

For senior Asian studies major and communications minor Adeline Fagel, learning the Japanese language has been part of her time here at Seton Hall.

Aside from the 24 credits that comes with the language requirement of her major, she also has to complete another 24 credits in the Asian studies department. For Fagel, the core requirements of her major and the language requirement just happen to complement each other.

“They do help me get a true Asian studies education, not only in language, but also in terms of the culture, societies, traditions, and history of Asian countries,” Fagel said.

Fagel incorporates Japanese into her daily schedule. She practices Kanji, which are Japanese characters derived from Chinese, and does vocabulary exercises.

She spends an average of five hours on her language every week. Both Wong and Fagel do not think that the core requirements hinder their time spent on languages.

It would seem that Seton Hall had integrated both the language aspect and the core requirements, allowing the Asian studies major to have a more rounded education.

For Santiago Losada, a junior diplomacy and international relations, modern languages, economics major and Russian and eastern European studies minor, taking two languages above the advance level is the only way for him to hit the requirements needed for him to graduate.

Losada said that balancing his schedule is very important. Every semester, he aims to take two diplomacy classes, two economic classes and two language classes, one being French and the other being Russian, in order to fulfil all the requirements of his three different majors.

Losada thinks that languages help students with career options. “I also think that the language requirements help prepare students for the global world that we live in,” Losada said.

While they are not from the same majors, all three students have had these modern languages as part of their everyday life here at Seton Hall.

Valerie Qiu Wen Ong can be reached at valerieqiuwen.ong@student.shu.edu.

Author: Valerie Qui Wen Ong

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