The World Languages and Cultures Department offers coursework in beginning, intermediate, and advanced French, German, and Spanish, as well as coursework in beginning and intermediate Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Russian, and Japanese. Instruction at all levels emphasizes communicative competence and the use of authentic media to prepare students for cultural, educational, literary and professional needs in California, throughout the United States, and abroad.

Students who wish to enroll in language courses for the first time at Cal Poly, numbered 101 through 203, must take the requisite Placement Examination prior to enrolling. Students who have never studied the desired language must begin at 101. *Please check the World Languages and Cultures Department website for test dates and procedures.

The department supports the concept of international education and encourages students to investigate opportunities for meaningful international study, internships, and educational experiences. The department works with Cal Poly's and the CSU’s International Programs to ensure that courses taken in an experience abroad count toward either major, support, minor, general education and/or free electives, as appropriate. Students interested in studying abroad should consult with the Cal Poly International Center Office and their assigned academic advisor well in advance.

The World Languages and Cultures Department supports Spanish majors’ career exploration in WLC 360 (Research Methods in World Languages & Cultures), a required major course. In this class, students produce a portfolio of projects designed to give them hands-on experience with language-related work required in professional settings. These projects include:

  • A translation of materials and/or website text for a local non-profit organization
  • A lesson plan for a beginning language course
  • A community-based service learning experience and reflection
  • A research paper and presentation designed to develop their critical thinking, written and oral communication, and research skills

 Guest presenters are another important career-focused component of WLC 360. Career Services provides a targeted workshop to assist students with their job/career search and networking strategies. Other guest speakers share information about diverse career paths available to Spanish majors.

The department collaborates with Cal Poly's School of Education in training students who wish to obtain a bilingual teaching credential.

The department also supports such student clubs and societies as the Cal Poly Language Club, Phi Sigma Iota, the Chinese Cultural Club, and MEXA (Movimiento Estudiantil Xicano de Aztlán), as well as sponsoring a quarterly film series and other cultural events such as the Chinese New Year celebration and the German Winter Festival.

The World Languages Center (formerly PIRC) is the department's digital language laboratory and multimedia teaching facility. Students and faculty members use the Center for class activities and presentations, and for drop-in language practice and curriculum development.

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