Foreign Languages & International Studies
More than 50 percent of Harding graduates travel abroad to immerse themselves in the art of Italy, the history of Greece, or any of the cultural offerings in the other programs. For many students, however, they need only walk a few steps to their dorm room for that experience.
There is just one rule: Only Spanish or French can be spoken in the dorm room.
“Our goal is to give students, especially those who don’t have the chance to study abroad, an immersion experience,” says Assistant Professor of Spanish Michelle Holland. “You learn better when you are forced to use what you are studying, and by signing the language contract, our students are forced to use the language every day in real situations.”
Gather around for a meal in the cafeteria, in the Student Center, or at Starbucks for an opportunity to get to know native speakers or other students in foreign language classes. Speaking only in Spanish or French, students are able to practice and perfect their conversational Spanish vocabulary.
Harding students studying Spanish can take advantage of contacts with a significant Hispanic population at the University and in the local community. Contact with native speakers is especially valuable for those preparing themselves for mission work in Spanish-speaking countries: students may attend a Spanish-language Church of Christ, attend Wednesday evening Spanish-language devotionals on campus, converse with native speakers at programmed dining hours, and engage in several English as a Second Language mission outreaches to local Hispanic workers, one in Searcy and others within a 50-mile radius. Medical students may be involved as translators and receptionists in local health clinics. In addition, Harding has some 60 Walton scholars from Mexico and Central America, as well as Hispanic students here on athletic scholarships, providing students with many opportunities for contact with native speakers of Spanish.
Immersion activities in French are frequently offered, and students are invited to attend Wednesday evening devotionals in the target language and other French-speaking activities through out the semester.