Student zoomed in on during a class

World Languages and Cultures

What We Do:

We prepare students to become proficient in a language, literature and culture other than English and American, so that they may lead empowered and productive lives as global citizens. As global awareness has an impact on our lives, the command of more than one language is not only enriching, but often indispensable. Our students learn to think and express themselves logically, precisely and critically in one or more world language -- a skill that will help them pursue a wide range of careers.

"When you learn a world language, you find the benefits spill over into your science, pre-health, business and political science courses too."

Yamile Silva, Ph.D., department chair

How We Stand Out:

  • Small class sizes and faculty who get to know students on an individual basis. 
  • Teachers from abroad. Each year, Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants from around the world teach classes in their native languages and offer educational events for the community.
  • Our Language Learning Center offers tutoring and weekly conversation groups for students learning a world language, and an ESL program for local immigrants.
  • Numerous study abroad opportunities, including faculty-led trips to Peru, Mexico, Italy and Spain.

Meet our Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants

Visit the Language Learning Center

Check out the study abroad opportunities


  • Spanish Studies - combines the traditional strengths of Spanish language and literature departments with an interdisciplinary, cultural studies and practical skills approach.
  • French and Francophone Studies - is composed of courses in the French language, literature, film and culture. It is usually part of a double major.
  • International Language - Business - is a professionally-oriented program that combines introductory and upper-level business courses with a language curriculum in Spanish, French or Italian.
  • Italian - enables students to attain speaking, writing and reading proficiency in the Italian language and deep knowledge of Italian culture and society.
  • Classical Studies - Students can major in Latin or Greek, or a combination of both. The program is small and flexible enough to accommodate students' interests.

Meet Our Faculty:

Yamile Silva

Yamile Silva


Professor, Spanish; Department Chair

Ph.D., University of Massachusetts

Marzia Caporale

Marzia Caporale

Professor, French and Italian

Ph.D., University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 2004

Roxana Curiel

Roxana Curiel

Assistant Professor, Spanish

Ph.D., University of California, 2016

Jaime Meilán del Río

Faculty Specialist, Spanish

Law degree, Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia, Madrid, Spain (1986)

Virginia Picchietti

Virginia Picchietti

Associate Professor, Italian

Ph.D., Indiana University

Joseph Wilson

Joseph Wilson

Professor, Latin and Greek

Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1982

Habib Zanzana

Habib Zanzana

Professor, Spanish and French

Ph.D., Indiana University

Inside the Classroom:

We help students develop effective oral and written communication skills in their chosen language, along with an understanding of another culture and its people. 

We encourage students to study abroad for one semester or a full academic year, preferable during their junior year. 

During senior year, students create a portfolio that demonstrates their language skills and offers a picture of their study abroad, service learning and extracurricular experiences. The portfolio helps them assess the progress they have made in their language of study and is useful as they begin job searches or graduate school applications.

Student Research:

Students take part in a number of service learning opportunities, including Spanish 335: Service Learning and the Hispanic Community. There is a strong need in Northeastern Pennsylvania for Spanish speakers who understand Hispanic culture norms.

Many of our students volunteer as interpreters at the University's Leahy Clinic for the Uninsured. Our Language Learning Center also promotes social justice through extensive community service, such as translating documents and providing free language and ESL tutoring for people in the local community.

Career Outcomes:

World Language study offers solid preparation for any number of careers. Employment opportunities are excellent for bilingual students. 

Our graduates have gone on to work in such fields as:

  • International business
  • Banking
  • Education
  • International diplomacy
  • translation and interpretation

Employers of recent graduates include:

  • The United States Foreign Service
  • AXA office in Paris, France
  • Dickinson Constant Company, France
  • Raymond Weil Importer, New York
  • Ernst & Young, New York

Other graduates have become Fulbright Scholars, members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and Peace Corps, and law or medical students.