Program Overview

The Languages Department welcomes students of many interests into our major and minor programs. Students find that their language major adds a new dimension to their academic studies in Art History, Business, Chemistry, English, History, International Relations, Music, Oxbridge Institutions and Policy and Oxbridge Literature and Theory, Psychology and Theater, for example. Others choose to couple their language with programs that have specific career applications, such as Education, International Business and Non-profit Leadership. Through study abroad, service learning, and class-related experiences, Jewell language majors have opportunity to develop communication skills, increase their cultural awareness, and achieve academic excellence that will help foster success in their various career paths, graduate school programs and fields of service.

To see more of the Jewell Languages Department, visit our blog or see our course listings.

Mission
The mission of the Language Department of William Jewell College is to:

  • Offer languages representing the peoples, cultures and literatures of the Western World: French, Greek, Latin, and Spanish.
  • Offer languages key to an understanding of the present world beyond the West: Arabic, Chinese and Japanese.
  • Develop in our students the expertise of our discipline: cultural literacy, language competencies and cross-cultural experiential skills.
  • Establish levels of achievement represented by majors and minors for each language.
  • Recognize student achievement by nomination to and induction into Phi Sigma Iota.
 
 
 

Choosing a Language

All languages offer valuable reasons for study. They enhance communication skills and they open doors to the cultures of the world.

For some students, choosing a language is easy. You may choose a language because you are already familiar with it, because its culture has always fascinated you, or because of your family’s origins or connections with friends you have made in travel or study abroad.

However, if you are unsure of which language to study at William Jewell College, you might consider a language that enhances your interests or facilitates your career goals. 

 The document “Choosing a Language at WJC” contains some important connections between languages and areas of study at Jewell.
 
 
 

Department Recital

All students enrolled in 300 and 400 level language courses perform at the Languages Department Recital.

Held at the end of every semester, students prepare and perform presentations that reflect their learning and language skills. Ranges of performance include original poetry recitals and story telling, research into authors and literary works, cultural and historical topics, puppet shows, music, skits, dramatic monologs and plays. 

 
 
 

Language Assistants

The Languages Department welcomes every year a French assistant from the Université de Paris or the Université de Nantes and a Spanish assistant from the Universidad de Córdoba.

These native speakers lead conversation hours and conduct lab sessions for language students to help them practice language skills and review class material. They also work in the language lab to offer homework help and other support to our students. Since they live in the residence halls, they offer our students opportunities to learn about French and Spanish culture and to interact informally in their language.

 
 
 

Phi Sigma Iota

The Language Department hosts a chapter of Phi Sigma Iota, the international foreign language honor society. Our induction ceremony takes place during Family Weekend after Colloquium and Honors Convocation.

To be eligible, students must be juniors or seniors, enrolled in a language major or minor, have completed at least one course at the 300 level and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and rank in the top 35% of their class. At the ceremony, inductees receive a certificate, membership card, gold pin and cords for graduation. Our inductees speak about their experiences in language learning and the place their language has in the career and academic goals.

The chapter sponsors language-related events on campus that all interested language students may attend. For more information about the Phi Sigma Iota, visit its website at www.phisigmaiota.org.

 
 
Alumni Stars
 
 
Megan in front of the Alps at Grenoble.

Megan Dennis '12
Majors: English and French

I came to Jewell planning to major in English and minor in French. However, when I told Dr. Ian Munro, my adviser, about my love for the language and desire to study abroad, he made me re-think my decision. "When you enjoy something that much, why not go all in?" I didn't realize then it would be one of the best decisions I would make, or how much the two programs could interact. Because of such supportive faculty at William Jewell, I was motivated to double major in English and French. 

I was able to study abroad in Nantes, France spring semester of my junior year through IES’s language immersion program. I lived with a caring host family who spoke no English, so my language skills quickly improved. I still keep in contact with my host family through email and Skype and visited them the last time I was in France. Not only did I learn an astounding amount about the French culture and language through them and the IES staff, but I also learned about my own. Since I had such a great experience during my study abroad semester, I decided to return as a teaching assistant. I spent one academic year in Saint-Etienne, close to Lyon, teaching English as a foreign language to students ranging from ages eleven to twenty. My time as an undergrad and as a teaching assistant taught me so many things, but most importantly they taught me to appreciate both other cultures and people as well as my own. 

This spring I learned I have been accepted to KU's Master's program in English. I start in the fall and will be working as a graduate teaching assistant while I earn my degree. After that I hope to earn my Ph.D. I plan to find other opportunities for improving my French skills and interaction. I continue to read, write, and speak in French. It seems that no matter my planned route, something always sticks and brings me back.

 
Laura’s first taste of escargots.
Laura Fountain '10
Majors: Chemistry and French

I am fairly certain that had I decided to go to some other, larger school rather than Jewell, I would not be where I am today.

In May 2010, I graduated with double majors in Chemistry and French and I know that what I learned in both disciplines will be applicable later in my life. I always knew I would major in a science. I’ve loved it since before I can remember. But I wasn’t always so set in stone about my love for French and other foreign languages. In fact, had I not come to a school where it is required for the core curriculum, I may not have continued my studies past high school. And even then, I wasn’t sure about French, and switched to a different language, Latin, to fulfill my requirement for graduation. During this time I came to realize how much I missed and appreciated French.

I also came to discover, that while I wanted to be a doctor, knowing a foreign language would be very helpful when it came to doing the relief work I plan on pursuing after medical school. I am positive that in a bigger school I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to explore my fascination with language and made the realization that it was something I wanted to follow through on. Jewell gave me marvelous opportunities, such as studying abroad for a semester, which is something that not most science majors get the opportunity to do. At this point in my life I’m not exactly sure where my studies will take me, but I’m thrilled that I’ve had the opportunity to figure out what I love and study it.

 
 
Justina enjoying a summer in Québec. 
Justina Edgar ’10
Majors: Elementary Education and French

As a Jewell student, I spent five weeks studying in the Intensive French Language Course at the Université Laval in Québec, Canada, after being generously awarded the funds by the Hall Family Foundation Summer Academic Enrichment Program. My studies would not have been possible without their financial support and I am thankful that I attended an institution that gives its students such wonderful resources to take what they have learned on the Jewell campus and apply it in real-world contexts.

I left the United States without realizing all of the cultural opportunities that the Quebecois would have to offer. Since Québec is usually snow-covered and cold, the Quebecois take advantage of the warm summer weather by taking to the streets and offering many outdoors events such as free Cirque du Soleil performances and summer music festivals. Other activities included visiting the tallest waterfall in North America, hiking trails and mountains, floating down the St. Lawrence River and feasting at a maple syrup cabin. During the week, I enjoyed watching films, cooking traditional Quebecois and exploring the cobble-stoned streets of Vieux-Quebec. These activities immersed me in a Francophone environment, giving me opportunities to use French 100 percent of the time and as my primary means of communication.

After such an amazing experience, I applied to several programs that would allow me to teach English in French-speaking countries. French is no longer just a hobby or a series of classes required to graduate—French is a valuable skill and passion that I will continue to develop and use throughout my entire career.

 
Andrew hiking in the Alpujarras of South Spain during the fall.
Andrew Wingfield ’07
Majors: International Relations, French, Spanish

My studies of Spanish and French at William Jewell College--combined with a major in international relations--have quite literally opened the world to me and have set me on the path of a rewarding, international career. When I was a junior at Jewell, I spent both semesters studying abroad, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Nantes, France, in order to improve my foreign language proficiency and expand my world view. Through these immersion experiences and travel opportunities within South America and Europe, I returned to the States forever changed and eager to see more of the world. As such, I pledged to seek out overseas opportunities that would allow me to continue speaking Spanish and French in an immersion setting, in addition to providing me the chance to live abroad again.

The summer after I graduated from Jewell, I began working as a summer staff member for VISIONS Service Adventures, an overseas community service organization for teenagers. Through VISIONS I have spent the past three summers living and working in the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, and Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. I would not have been able to work in Guadeloupe or Ecuador without a high level of proficiency in French and Spanish and therefore would have missed out on those incredible experiences. Additionally, I spent the academic year after I left Jewell teaching English in Seville, Spain, and returned to the States wondering how I could apply my international experience and foreign language study toward creating a life-long career in a related field.

As a result of my search, I am now a Master's student, studying international education policy and management at Vanderbilt University. After completing my graduate work, I hope to begin a career working within the field of international education, fostering cross-cultural education opportunities on a global scale and emphasizing foreign language learning.

My foreign language background set me on this unique path, and I am excited to see what the future holds. I am extremely grateful for the experiences I had at Jewell, including the quality of foreign language instruction, the opportunity to study on two continents, and the level of interest and investment the foreign language faculty made in helping me hone my language skills and pursue international opportunities.  
 
April outside the restaurant La Musardière in Giverny, France.
April Graham ’06
Major: International Business and French

I had studied French in school for a total of nine years when I graduated from Jewell in '06. Part of the last year included a semester at ESC Dijon where the majority of my classes were in French. Despite this, I have never been exceptionally fluent, but found that the greatest personal benefit has come not from knowing another language, but from gaining an appreciation for another culture and a better understanding of my own.

It's been said that, "to have another language is to possess a second soul", and in many ways, this is true. Like all things worth doing, learning another language is challenging and often frustrating. Adjectives and nouns sometimes trade places, verbs become infuriating, and time and place are drastically altered. It changes your perspective and increases your awareness of the values, beliefs, and rhythm of life of another culture. It broadens your worldview.

In studying another language and culture, you make constant comparisons to your own – to what is familiar. In this way, you begin to more deeply understand your native language and culture, and it's place in world. You become an ambassador for your own culture as you travel and interact with others. It's a solid win for citizen diplomacy!

In the end, rather you use the language everyday or not, studying a second language increases your cultural sensitivity. It requires you to be more aware of how you communicate – even in your native tongue. It connects you with people across oceans and opens doors to understanding that were imperceptible before. Studying French taught me so much more than just nouns and verbs; it has enriched my life in ways I wouldn't have expected. Quelle chance!
 
Senior Stars
Erin learning about wildlife at La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Costa Rica.

Erin Christiansen '14

Majors: Communication, Spanish, ACT-In

Entering college, I chose to continue learning the Spanish language; however, as a freshman, I was unaware of how impactful the Spanish language would be on my life. 

Jewell’s Spanish department has encouraged me to learn both inside and outside of the classroom. My professors encourage me to immerse myself in situations where I step out of my comfort zone and interact with those who are different from me. Whether I am tutoring lower-level Spanish students, participating in Phi Sigma Iota events, completing service-learning projects, or studying abroad, I use the Spanish language as a means to learn about different cultures and expand my worldview.

Come to find out, stepping outside of my comfort zone and interacting with those who are different from me is what I yearn to do. The summer after my sophomore year at Jewell, I took initiative and planned a unique study abroad experience. I received the Pritchard Humanitarian Service Award for a service project in which I traveled to Costa Rica and taught English to teenage boys living in a boarding school. I was able to relate to and converse with the students in Spanish, and it was amazing to see the impact that I could make on their lives.  

After a month of teaching English, I took classes at a university where I learned about Costa Rican franchises, companies, and environmental agendas. I also enjoyed traveling to remote parts of the country to learn about Costa Rican environmental practices. I had the opportunity to visit a sustainable village lying on the outskirts of the country’s largest wildlife refuge and see an arrubada, which is a mass sea turtle nesting on the Pacific coastline.

I’ve come to find that I love learning about culture. I want to know people’s stories, and knowing the Spanish language helps me relate to a larger population. I’ve developed a passion for traveling, not as a tourist, but as an individual wanting to see the world from a different perspective.

Cynthia Hartwell '13
Major: Spanish Education

Cynthia riding a camel on a program excursion in Morocco.

Inspired by my cousin, who now teaches college French in North Carolina, I entered high school wanting to take French as my foreign language credit. Unfortunately, French I was only offered 1st and 7th hours, when I had band and jazz band. I wasn’t about to quit the trumpet, so I did what I thought was “settling,” and enrolled in Spanish I. I have never once looked back.

I fell in love with the Spanish language in high school, but really let that passion take off at William Jewell, where this line of study has led to adventure after adventure, making my Jewell journey a truly exhilarating one. As a first-year student, I invested in the Spanish-speaking community of Kansas City by participating in, and eventually leading a service-learning project at a local church. Immediately following my first year, I jetted off to Guadalajara, Mexico, where I took Spanish grammar classes for five weeks while living with the most loving host family I could have ever dreamed up. A highlight of this adventure was watching the World Cup in a Latin American setting. The nationwide passion for soccer is truly incredible.

As a junior, I went on my biggest adventure yet: a semester in Granada, Spain. A beautiful city in southern Spain, Granada became my home for five and a half months. I did not need any credits other than my Spanish grammar course to fulfill my major requirements at Jewell, and enrolled in a handful of incredibly fun and interesting classes: Contemporary Spanish Theater (through which I got to see award-winning theatrical productions), Watercolor (which allowed me to spend many mornings and afternoons sitting in a sunny plaza, painting the beautiful landscapes and historic architecture surrounding me), Arabic (I promise I’m not a glutton for punishment, I was just excited to learn a new language!) and Music Theory (which I took at the local university, making me the only American student in the class).

But the real highlight of my time spent in Spain was that I had the opportunity to play trumpet with a local concert band. Twice a week I took a bus to a neighboring town and participated in a truly universal language: music. With this band, I participated in the iconic Semana Santa (Holy Week) processionals, marching with them on Easter Sunday as well as my 21st birthday. These are memories I will treasure dearly for the remainder of my life.

Even with graduation upon me, the adventures are not ending any time soon. I will spend two weeks in Honduras immediately following graduation, serving as interpreter for a service trip with a group of William Jewell nursing students. In the fall, I plan to teach Spanish at the middle or high school level, inspiring the next generation of adventure seekers—I mean—language students.

¡La aventura nos aguarda! Adventure is out there!

Rosemary Loehr '13
Majors: French, Rhetoric and Political Communication and ACT-IN

Rosemary hiking in the mountains around Grenoble.

If you asked my high school self if I planned on majoring in French in college I probably would have laughed.  I was never very good at French during high school. I have always enjoyed the French language, history, and culture, but I always struggled with my written and oral expression. In fact, it wasn’t until my first 300 level class at Jewell that I realized that I never wanted to stop learning French. 

French is often, and unfortunately, written off as an outdated and unnecessary language. Throughout high school and college I was consistently met with the same question. “Really? You’re studying French?” and it never ceased to amaze me. French truly is a global language that is spoken on every single continent (with the exception of Antarctica).  It is also the official language of the United Nations and of many other international organizations. Additionally, the French language is so full of culture and passion I will never understand the incredulous exclamations regarding my major.

Not only does my French experience enhance my academic endeavors, it has also been integral to my professional aspirations.  During the summer of 2011 I was extremely fortunate to receive an internship with the JVS Refugee Resettlement Agency in Kansas City, Missouri.  The organization was in desperate need of a translator with knowledge of the public school system to assist an influx of French speaking refugees from the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a French student, I was the perfect candidate. I was able to gain professional translating experience while also connecting with individuals around the world. 

The following summer I was confident enough in my French skills to travel abroad.  I studied French literature and Civilization at the Stendhal University in Grenoble, France. Because of my advanced studies at Jewell I was placed into a fast paced learning environment and experienced a complete integration into French culture. 

Now, at the end of my French career, if I am ever asked why I chose to study French, I simply smile and say that my experience has provided me with the opportunity to connect with individuals around the world in ways that no other language could.  I am forever indebted to the French Department at William Jewell and eternally grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have been afforded. Merci, merci beaucoup!

 

Megan McConnell '12
Majors: Business Administration and Spanish

A monkey greets Megan on the Rock of Gibraltar.

Learning a foreign language is more than just a resume builder, it's building a cultural bridge. There are 21 countries that speak Spanish as a primary language. That's 21 more nationalities with whom I can form a deeper relationship.

Jewell puts an emphasis on being a “responsible citizen”. What better way to do that than by learning others' language and actively learning their culture? Jewell's Spanish department centers teachings around culture and requires a study abroad experience for majors. It won't make you bilingual in four years, but it will allow you to converse with people who don't speak any English.

Studying abroad taught me the value of making an effort. Although my Spanish is not perfect, people appreciate the attempt. They know that conversing at all requires a long commitment. To push your comfort zone, grow as a person, and learn just how capable you are, study abroad in a country where English is not spoken.  Jewell's Spanish department allows for the most memorable college experiences. Who knows, maybe you'll find yourself in a country where monkeys view humans as their own personal taxi system too!

 

Nate Chastain '11
Majors: Business Administration, Spanish, ACT-In

Nate with his young friends in Honduras.

My passion for Spanish and its culture has given me the chance to improve my conversational skills through William Jewell and has literally catapulted me into incredible experiences and future opportunities.

With graduation right around the corner, I can't say that I can be more prepared. Throughout my college career I have taken advantage of the great offers of cultural experience with William Jewell. The Spanish Department has given me a solid foundation to work with, and I've connected classroom learning with real-world experiences. Whether it was working on micro-loans in Croc, Mexico, crying at a soccer game while abroad in Madrid, Spain, for a semester, or venturing down to Honduras for a service-learning project, Jewell has equipped me with experiences of multiple lifetimes.

Recently, I traveled down to La Ceiba, Honduras, to help a village that is partnered with Jewell. The college had already been developing the community of Embarcadero by constructing latrines for cleaner water, building stoves for better health and more convenience, and now to develop a variety store for the village and its surrounding communities. It was truly a prime example of being out of my comfort zone, as I was the only fluent Spanish-speaker. I was fortunate enough to talk with village elders, children, parents, college faculty and students, and more. The entire trip is worth far more than I can record in a blog, but extremely valuable to me and crucial for my own growth in the language. Because of experiences like this, I have committed myself to the hispanic culture here in Kansas City and will use the skills developed at Jewell for others.

 
Rebecca on an IES field trip to a shrine in Nagano.
Rebecca Killam ’10
Major: International Business and Japanese

I started studying Japanese because I wanted a language I could get help with and as it just so happens, my mom was one of the first to people to go to Japan from Jewell the very first year that became an option for Jewell students.  Once the mandatory three years of a language were under my belt, I studied Japanese not only to share something with my mom, but because it was useful for business.  When I looked for colleges with Japanese programs I found many schools to be lacking and only Jewell allowed me to combine my passions into a self-designed International Business and Japanese major. I got to study abroad in Tokyo and learn that when my mom and I fought over whose grammar was correct, we technically both were, we were just speaking different dialects.  It made for some interesting Skype conversations while I was over there.  My immediate plan now is to go through the JET Program and teach English, eventually working my way up the ranks to be the International Marketing director of an American company in Asia, or maybe even find a job and move over there.  Either way, I have met people in different countries that share my love of the language and culture, something you can't always find staying in the US.

 

Faculty
Susan Myers, Ph.D.
Professor of French, Chair 
Dr. Myers earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Jane Woodruff, Ph.D.
Professor of Greek, Latin and Ancient history
Dr. Woodruff received her Ph.D. in Ancient History and Classics from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Amaya Amell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Spanish
Dr. Amell holds a Ph.D. from New York University.

Jennifer Colón, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Spanish
Dr. Colón earned her Ph.D. from Florida State University.

Michael Foster, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of French
Dr. Foster holds a Ph.D. from University of Illinois-Urbana.

Rima Jawhari, Instructor of Arabic

Ying-Yu Huang, Instructor of Chinese

Yoko Hori, Instructor of Japanese

Claire Beswick, French Language Assistant

Enrique Granados GonzálezSpanish Assistant

 

Choosing A Language

Department Recital

Language Assistants

Phi Sigma Iota

Alumni Stars 

Senior Stars

Faculty

Our Blog 

 
Contact Us:
Susan Myers, Ph.D.
Professor of French, Chair 
Languages Department 
500 College Hill, Box 1101
Liberty, Mo 64068
(816) 415-7671
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