World Languages and Cultures
Studying World Languages and Cultures helps students to develop analytical skills appropriate to the study of international and intercultural relations, to understand elements that distinguish cultures from one another, and to be able to compare cultural perspectives. Through World Language courses, students gain the linguistic tools to communicate in another language at the intermediate level, and International Experiences provide them with the opportunity to apply such understanding and skills by means of active participation and reflection in programs of study outside the United States. World Languages and Cultures courses may deal to some extent with U.S. culture in its international connections. They need not focus on the present but may, instead, consider a historical subject. World Languages and Cultures courses seek to expand student knowledge of world affairs, cultures, societies, and values. They explore traditions grounded in different cultural paradigms, and provide a framework for understanding and appreciating the ideas and values of different cultures. These goals are intended to provide a foundation for basic understanding and knowledge, which will be further developed in more advanced studies; internationalization and globalization should infuse a student's experience at Indiana University. The study of world languages and world cultures fosters an appreciation for the language, art, religion, philosophy, and material culture of different cultures; a respect for cultural differences and cultural ambiguity; and an ongoing willingness to seek out international or intercultural opportunities.
Students who complete the World Languages and Cultures requirement will demonstrate
- an understanding of culture within a global and comparative context (specifically, an understanding that a particular culture is one of many diverse cultures and that alternate perceptions and behaviors may be based in cultural differences);
- knowledge of global issues, processes, trends, and systems (such as economic and political interdependency among nations, environmental-cultural interaction, global governance bodies, and nongovernmental organizations);
- knowledge of other cultures (including beliefs, values, perspectives, practices, and products);
- the ability to use cultural knowledge, diverse cultural frames of reference, and alternate cultural perspectives to think critically and solve problems;
- the ability to communicate and connect with people in other language communities in a range of settings for a variety of purposes, developing skills in each of the four modalities: speaking (productive), listening (receptive), reading (receptive), and writing (productive) [N.B. This learning outcome applies specifically to students who study a foreign language.];
- the ability to use foreign language skills and/or knowledge of other cultures to extend access to information, experiences, and understanding.
The World Languages and Cultures requirement may be completed through one of three options: language study, world culture courses, or international experiences (for details, see IU Bloomington General Education requirements).