Taking Foreign Languages at Scripps

As an incoming freshman, there were two things that I was sure of. One, I would definitely major in something STEM-related. Two, as a person who grew up in a multi-ethnic country with a variety of dialects, I was fascinated with how language was such a pivotal part of nation building and of course development and security on every scale. Hence, I was certain that I had to take something language based. True to that, after one year of being in Scripps, I have been able to continue my French journey which began when I was a child. Now, I’m delving into Asian culture, hammering on the Korean language.

Do you want to know how Scripps as a Women’s college and liberal arts college together with the 5C community makes this possible? Travel along with me as I highlight them!


In Class

Class hours:

This is where a big part of learning occurs. Normally, beginners through intermediate classes will meet about four times a week while less meeting days may be seen for upper classes. Professors, beyond learning, will introduce a bunch of games and fun class activities that facilitate confidence in speech and understanding the culture behind the language. In my Korean class, we would sometimes play kahoot before class, sometimes with named prizes and at other times we play bingo! It’s all fun and goofiness behind the tedious learning that eases me into the new tongue I’m learning.


Conversation Classes:

Scripps and CMC where I take my Korean classes, usually hire teaching assistants from a country where the native language is spoken. These TAs hold semi formal classes called conversation labs/ classes that aim to highlight the culture and distinct lifestyles of the natives of a language. We enhance our pronunciation through fun learning activities like Pictionary. We also play games like werewolf or ‘mafia’ game as it is popularly known- I was quite good at it *patting my back*. We study their music (and make our own playlists) as well as their cuisine.


Outside Class

Language tables:

On select days, there are lunch tables that are designated for languages for students to have lunch together mostly with professors and TAs. Students and professors communicate in the language they are learning over several fun topics. Native and fluent speakers are always welcome to these tables as well as anyone interested in the language. It is a semi formal space to continue learning and interact with professors outside of class. I’ve learnt so much about my professors outside class! Since the academic community of the 5 colleges allows us to take classes abroad on any of the campuses, it is also a great space for meeting new people and forming social connections. I met a Korean- American actor at our lunch table! I was totally NOT fangirling.


Peer Tutors:

Peer tutors are a unique resource of student body who are fluent or knowledgeable in an area of study. The language department like the Korean department have peer tutors, most of whom are native speakers. They would hold office hours during the week to help students improve speaking skills. They also help with homework. I once had a speaking test for my Korean class and I promise, I think I became a pro speaker after my partner, and I visited the tutor *shrugs* just saying.


Movie nights:

This may not be typical of every language class, but my French classes had a requirement to attend movie night sessions they held. It was required to go a maximum of three times in the semester. Honestly, I think the number of Korean dramas I watch, and probably other students too informed the department that it was not so necessary. But typically for French we would watch movies selected by the departments and sometimes they provided snacks!


Living Learning Communities:

There’s also a unique space in our dorms called the Living and Learning Communities (LLC). This might be a corridor in a chosen dorm designated for students in Scripps who are interested in a particular language. It is therefore open to everyone regardless of the academic situation in school. The language TA also lives in the corridor. We have the French, Spanish, German, Italian language corridors. TAs hold a few events like art events, cooking or just a nice picnic on a beautiful day to facilitate communication in the language and among other members of the hall. I live in the French corridor and the last event we had was paint night session! I believe a karaoke night may be next. Yay!


Fun activities:

Through a lot of my classes, I’ve had the privilege of engaging with the culture of the people I learn about. For instance, last year, I was able to attend the American French Film Festival and gained more insight into French movie production. My Korean professor this semester also held a kimbap making session where she brought in the ingredients and taught us how to make kimbap which is something in the lines of Korean sushi. These really highlight the importance of learning the language which is to facilitate communication. These sessions and activities always spark the desire to travel and study in Korea. Through Scripps’ engaging study abroad program I just may!



Language is difficult to start up especially in college, however, I would say that the resources that Scripps and the other colleges in our consortium offer, fairly makes it tolerable to continue the journey!