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Modern World Languages

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 Modern World Languages 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

Linguistics Major Minor
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 and Linguistic Programs Focused on Compassionate Communication

The modern world languages 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.

of students pursuing a major in Modern World Languages add a second or third major

full-time faculty in the department

Program Highlights

Study abroad

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.

Diverse faculty

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.

Unique partnerships

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.

Service learning

Get involved in local, multicultural communities and interact with native and heritage speakers of the languages you’re studying.

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 right here at Bethel.

What can I do with a degree in modern world languages?

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


Modern world languages graduates are:

  • Business people
  • College professors
  • Educational leaders at the local and state level
  • Healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, therapists, physician assistants)
  • Legal assistants
  • Linguists
  • 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, Minnesota, and Twin Cities)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of California-San Diego
  • University of Texas-Austin

More from Modern World Languages

Language Placement Testing

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

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