Language study is a component of global awareness.

Students will learn:

  • To understand and help shape the multicultural, globally interdependent world of which they are a part
  • To nurture critical, independent, and creative thinking, and to cultivate a deeper understanding of today’s global community and oneself as an engaged citizen (GER)
  • The value of bilingual literacy in research
  • Preparation  for global economy

Language study is a path toward other opportunities in language. 

Students will learn:

  • What it means to major or minor in a given language
  • What study abroad possibilities can arise from further study in the language
  • What internships may be available, domestically or abroad, for those with further language study

Language study is an exploration of language itself, and of the relationship between linguistic experience and culture.

Students will learn:

  • How language gives access to different ways of thinking
  • A more complex and complete awareness of cultural diversity
  • A better understanding of the student’s native tongue through the insights provided by study of a foreign language
  • The ability to gather, organize, and coherently present information from diverse sources across disciplines and genres by the use of both libraries and electronic resources (HISP)


Arabic Studies at Wheaton College offers a robust program of courses in the Arabic language. The department offers three levels of Arabic designed for students with no previous study of Arabic. Arabic is the fourth most spoken language in the world — spoken mainly through the Middle East and most of North Africa. Since the Middle Ages, Arabic has left a lasting mark on numerous other languages, including English.

Though Arabic can be a challenging and uncommon language to learn, the cultural and professional benefits it offers are many. Arabic speakers are in great demand among international organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank, international companies, foreign aid agencies, intelligence agencies, and many other sectors.

Our goal here at Wheaton is to provide an introduction to modern standard Arabic within the cultural context of the Arab world. Studying Arabic allows students to gain greater cultural and international understanding through the lens of language. By studying Arabic and learning about the language, students will begin to gain a deeper and more nuanced perspective of the Arabic-speaking world than the typical themes found in U.S. mass media.

This program and its courses are also associated and often conjoined with the Stonehill College Arabic program.


As one of the oldest languages in the world, spoken by almost a fifth of the world’s population, Chinese presents many opportunities to those who study the language. Chinese is spoken throughout much of Asia including the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, and Mongolia.

Wheaton offers four levels of Chinese and welcomes students with no previous knowledge.

The study of Chinese is beneficial in fields related to politics, economics, history, and more. As students study the cultural and linguistic products of these nations they will understand what is behind the language and its function in Chinese society. By understanding the language, and building a platform of knowledge and engagement, students gain insight into the culture.


The Japanese program at Wheaton provides students with an appreciation and critical understanding of Japan’s literary, linguistic, and cultural traditions. Students are able to engage with Japan’s 1,000+ years history primarily through the lens of language. The program encourages students to think beyond Japan itself, and to consider cultural and historical connections with the rest of East Asia and the world as they proceed in their studies. In light of this, Wheaton offers 6 course of Japanese open to students of various levels.

Over their course of study, students will gain an awareness of self and others in a way that is a vital part of communication in Japan. Competency in a language such as Japanese means students will begin to acquire skills to travel the globe, especially with the prevalence of East Asian cultures in today’s global market and society — speaking and understanding the oral components are just one small part of a dialogue! In conjunction with other courses of study, this program offers a combination of knowledge and skills that help students take part in cross-cultural contexts and to contribute meaningfully to the global challenges of today’s world.