CIEE Students Set Record for Taking Foreign Languages in 2019

Authored by:
Seamus Harreys

Seamus Harreys

While the number of college students studying a second language has declined more than 15% in the past decade, totaling just 7% of the 2016 undergraduate population,* I’m pleased to report that CIEE’s vast portfolio of language courses continue to be among the most popular offerings for students across majors – even for “survival” language courses bearing no credit.

CIEE’s commitment to language learning remains a critical part of our mission as we believe it’s a key component of intercultural understanding. Language learning not only gives students valuable cultural insight, it is also a unique opportunity for students to step into another culture and see life from a different viewpoint.

  • In Academic Year (AY) 2019, for-credit language courses accounted for 18% of all CIEE course registrations, an increase of 5% from AY17.
  • Spanish continues to be the most popular language among CIEE students, with Chinese, Arabic, and Russian following.
  • For-credit language learning on our Open Campus Block program increased 27% from AY17-AY19 and 23% for non-credit “survival language” courses. Survival language courses tend to be more popular with students who study at more than one location in our Global Institute Network.
  • Beginning Czech Language, Intensive Advanced Spanish Grammar, Beginning Spanish, and Beginning Dutch are among the top 10 CIEE–taught courses for the past three years.
  • The top 10 host-institution courses over the past three years include Intensive Korean Language, Intermediate Spanish Grammar, and Advanced Spanish Communication and Chilean Culture.

CIEE study abroad students can choose from 460 courses across 22 languages, eight of which have been identified as “critical languages,” by the Department of State including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Swahili, and Urdu. Language learning is available during all terms, including semester, summer, January, and CIEE’s 6-week blocks which are part of the Open Campus Block programs.

CIEE’s commitment to language learning is unparalleled in the field of international education. It’s been a core part of our curriculum for almost 75 years and will continue to be a core part of our programming portfolio, as we believe language learning greatly enhances global understanding.

All CIEE language programs combine intensive in-class learning with co-curricular activities designed to immerse students in the local culture and give them the opportunity to practice their newly acquired language skills. Students with advanced language skills can add a for-credit internship and gain hands on experience in the business community.

*Modern Language Association (MLA): Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Summer 2016 and Fall 2016: Preliminary Report 

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