Languages and linguistics are about more than the languages spoken or taught. They’re about communicating across cultures in a Christ-like manner.
The Department of World Languages and Cultures prepares graduates to use their language skills to understand, interact with, and serve with people from other cultures. You'll learn to see God’s diverse world from new perspectives, and become a globally aware graduate prepared to culturally engage with communities from a thoughtful, Christian perspective.
Majors, Minors, and Programs
|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 and Linguistic Programs Focused on Compassionate Communication
The world 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. Through stepping out of your comfort zone via 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.
0% classes with 25 or fewer students
0% of classes have under 50 students
Live with a host family, serve, and take classes in Guatemala or Spain; teach English in South Korea or Ecuador; or learn about Bible translation and community development with linguists from 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.
Focus on justice and reconciliation
Deepen your faith as you wrestle with topics pertaining to intercultural understanding, justice from a Christian perspective, and current issues in the U.S. and abroad. Gain a broad perspective in the languages you’re learning so that you’re prepared to make an impact in the communities you’ll serve after graduation.
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.
You’ll learn from professors who bring real experience to the classroom and are experts in their field. They are highly competent linguists and culturally competent instructors who integrate Christian principles and cultural experiences into their courses. Classes are typically small, allowing for individual attention and mentorship.
Strong Christian commitment
Through each class, semester abroad, or service opportunity, you’ll learn what it means to understand others’ perspectives in order to communicate with people of other cultures in a Christ-like manner.
Bethel partners with the Summer Institute of Linguistics at the University of North Dakota (UND) to offer a complete linguistics degree during three academic years on the Bethel campus and two summer sessions at UND. We also partner 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.
Get involved in local, multicultural communities and interact with native and heritage speakers of the languages you’re studying.
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 right here at Bethel.
Before coming to Bethel I was already driven to pursue certain ultimate questions about human existence. For instance, questions about the meaning of life, the nature of the human person, the nature and objectivity of ethics, the existence of God, the problem of evil and suffering, and so on. When I came to Bethel as a philosophy major I felt like I had found a home. I found a supportive and caring community of people, among both fellow students and the faculty, with whom I could engage in shared philosophical enquiry into questions that are of great significance for human life.David McPherson, Ph.D. '05
Current job: Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Creighton University
My studies at Bethel allowed me to fully engage my ministry context with a greater theological understanding and provided me with a set of practical skills to develop and encourage young leaders who will change their world.Deb Moncauskas '12
Current job: Children & Family Pastor/Adjunct Professor, Bethel Seminary
I felt unqualified for what God was calling me to. Bethel encouraged me to become qualified.Melissa Nikovics '15
Grad School: Bethel University M.A. in Counseling Psychology
I made several significant connections with professors in the counseling psychology program and am thankful for their investment in my career. The program provided an excellent foundation for my current role as a career counselor.Nicole Centanni '09
Current job: Career Counselor at Bethel University, Retreat Facilitator at The Urban Retreat
Bethel provided me with a fantastic education and prepared me for teaching in a school setting. They were understanding, flexible, and creative in scheduling my classes so that I was able to teach full-time while still attending classes 3 hours away.Derek Bauer '15
Current job: Special Education Teacher in Grand Rapids, MN
Studying Political Science at Bethel greatly influenced my direction and experience now in ministry with the homeless and addicted populations in the Twin Cities. I have gained a more keen eye for the ways power can be used and abused!David Morrow '04
Current job: Director of Chaplains at Union Gospel Mission
The intimate size of the department creates a close-knit community where students are led to grow and are challenged to become the best versions of themselves.Wes Mouri '12
Current job: Actor with the Guthrie Theater and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
Bethel's Business Management program is challenging yet rewarding. What I learn at Bethel readily applies to both my professional and personal life and will provide skills to help me succeed.Paul Olsen '16
The performing arts world is very dark, overall. Bethel prepared me to defend my faith and be an excellent performer. Graduate school thrust me into a cutthroat, competitive environment. But my identity doesn't rest on my musical successes or failures.Kathryn Voelker '06
Current job and grad school: Associate Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music Education and Piano at Liberty University and finishing D.A. in wind conducting from University of Northern Colorado
Aside from giving me an extraordinary background in the Bible, Christian history, and theology, the BTS major allowed me to develop skills in close reading, research, and writing that continue to serve me well after graduation.Sara Misgen '13
Grad school: Yale Divinity School (Accelerated Masters Program)
The D.Min program was an introspective journey of self-discovery and transformation that awakened a new reality about the social fields in which I live, and my role within them. It prepared me to identify and remove different socio-cultural structural barriers.Ramon Pastrano '13
Current job: CEO of ImpactLives Inc.
The faculty taught me to think critically, interrogate social phenomenon, and apply my learning for improving communities. I was prepared professionally and academically from the immense academic, intellectual, and personal support from faculty, with whom I developed lasting friendships.Ryan Steel '12
Current job: Research Associate
The athletic training at Bethel University provided me with a valuable education and experiences that allowed me to get a position at my top-rated graduate school.Jackson Smidt 2014
Grad School: Graduate Athletic Trainer at the University of Oregon
At Bethel, integrating faith and learning isn't just talk. The faculty are working musicians bringing a Christian perspective to their everyday work. My education prompted deep thought about music's role in Christian experience and clarified my calling to share music.Nathan Cornelius '12
Grad school: Lilly Graduate Fellow pursuing Doctor of Musical Arts degree in guitar performance, concurrently with a Master of Music in music theory pedagogy, at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University; Earned M.M. in composition and guitar performance from the Lamont School of Music, University of Denver.
My graduate school experience has positioned me with a consulting career that is both strategic and futuristic. Every day I help senior care organizations navigate through health care reform. It's challenging but incredibly rewarding work.Kristine Betz '12
Current job: Consultant
What can I do with a degree in world languages and cultures?
World languages and cultures students prepare for professional careers in a variety of industries and graduate programs in fields ranging from teaching to missions.
World languages and cultures graduates are:
- Business people
- College professors
- Educational leaders at the local and state level
- Healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, therapists, physician assistants)
- Legal assistants
- Nonprofit employees
- Social workers
- Spanish teachers
- Teachers of English to speakers of other languages in the U.S. and abroad
- Speech therapists
- Speech writers
Our alumni study:
Our alumni attend
- 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, Minnesota, and Twin Cities)
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
- University of California-San Diego
- University of Texas-Austin