Why study a Germanic, Slavic or East European language?

There is no one answer to this question. There exist countless reasons, both pragmatic and idealistic, why students choose to do so!

GSLL offers instruction in seven Indo-European languages (Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Czech, Dutch, German, Ukrainian, Polish, and Russian), one Uralic language (Hungarian), and one Eurasian language (Kazakh). There are certainly language-specific reasons to want to learn, say, Czech or Polish, but consider first the most immediate reason why Carolina students decide to learn a language taught in GSLL: Our classes are comparatively small and intimate in size. We know and care about our students, and students easily establish close and productive relationships with their instructors. Students easily build meaningful friendships with other students studying our languages. GSLL teaches students core skills rooted in the humanities that are transferable to myriad careers: critical thinking and careful close analysis, research based on persuasive written and oral communication, as well as cross-cultural and cross-historical understanding.

If these reasons seem too altruistic for some, others will agree that GSLL’s languages can set students apart from the rest by complementing a second major. Russian has suddenly become geo-politically relevant. German is indispensable in graduate study in the humanities, social sciences, and even some natural sciences. Like German, Dutch is the language of one Europe’s economic powerhouses. As Eastern Europe becomes increasingly integrated into the European Union, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Czech, Hungarian, and Polish will become increasingly more important.

Perhaps most important is the fact that students who study a GSLL language go on to do amazing things, regardless of whether life after Carolina involves their command of a foreign language: graduate school, professional school, top-notch employment at home and abroad.

Why learn German or Dutch?


Twelve reasons why learning Russian makes sense


Why learn an East European language?