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Languages and Cultures

Language is about more than speaking and teaching. It's about communicating across cultures in a Christ-like manner to form life-long connections.

The Department of Languages and Cultures prepares graduates to use their language and skills and intercultural awareness to understand, interact with, and serve with people from other contexts. You'll become a globally aware graduate prepared to culturally engage with communities from a thoughtful, Christian perspective.

Majors, Minors, and Programs

Spanish Major Minor
Spanish Education K–12 Major
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Major
Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) K–12 Major
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Minor Minor

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Language Programs Focus on Compassionate Communication

The languages and cultures programs at Bethel give students the global perspective they need to communicate with Christ-like compassion and be learners and explorers of God’s diverse world. By stepping out of your comfort zone through service learning projects, classroom interactions, and study abroad programs, you’ll be prepared to take your place in the global community of the 21st century. It’s about taking our faith in Christ and integrating it into everything we learn, into everything we do, and to everywhere we go, so that we can accomplish incredible things—in our careers, in our communities, and in our world.

Students smiling in a classroom

$51 million – Gift aid Bethel students received from all sources for 2017-2018


recent graduates are employed or in graduate school

Program Highlights

Study abroad

Live with a host family, serve, and take classes in Guatemala, Spain, or elsewhere; teach English in South Korea or Ecuador; or learn about Bible translation and community development across the globe. Internships are built into our study abroad and other off-campus programs so you can gain real-world experience in your future professional field.

Prepare for the global marketplace

Students who speak multiple languages and have extended immersion experiences are desired in any field, and many of our language education students find jobs in their field upon or before graduation.

Diverse faculty

You’ll learn from professors who bring real experience to the classroom and are experts in their field. They are culturally competent instructors who integrate Christian principles and cultural experiences into their courses. Classes are typically small, allowing for individual attention and mentorship.

Unique partnerships

Bethel partners with Students International and the Centro Lingüístico Maya in Antigua, Guatemala, as well as with the Centro de Estudios Hispánicos in Segovia, Spain, to offer semester-length programs abroad.

Internships and service learning

Get involved in local multicultural communities and interact with native and heritage speakers of the languages you’re studying. You'll have transformative experiences that feed your love for people from other cultures and help you understand both the challenges faced by language learners and the strength of their communities.

Practical experience

The rich and diverse educational scene in the Twin Cities offers students valuable practicum and student teaching opportunities in bilingual and immersion schools and in community programs with immigrants. You can also get paid to serve as a teaching/research assistant and a language tutor at Bethel.

What can I do with a degree in languages and cultures?

Our students prepare for professional careers in a variety of industries and graduate programs in fields ranging from teaching to missions.


Our graduates are:

  • Business people
  • College professors
  • Educational leaders at the local and state level
  • Healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, therapists, physician assistants)
  • Legal assistants
  • Missionaries
  • Nonprofit employees
  • Social workers
  • Spanish teachers
  • Teachers of English to speakers of other languages in the U.S. and abroad
  • Translators
  • Speech therapists
  • Speech writers

Graduate Fields

Our alumni study:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Leadership
  • Theology

Graduate Schools

Our alumni attend:

  • Baylor
  • Bethel University Graduate School or Seminary
  • Hamline University
  • Middlebury College (Vermont and Madrid, Spain)
  • Mitchell School of Law
  • New York University (New York and Madrid, Spain)
  • University of Minnesota (Duluth and Twin Cities)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of California-San Diego
  • University of Texas-Austin

More from Languages and Cultures

Language Placement Testing

Learn about the language placement exams and the language requirements at Bethel.

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