Advanced Language Training

Advanced Language Training

The Huntsman Program places a heavy emphasis on advanced language training, not only so that students can master the mechanics of communicating in another language, but also so that they learn the cultural context that underlies all communication. Penn’s language courses go far beyond a focus on grammar and vocabulary, and most Huntsman students take a mixture of applied language courses that use current materials (e.g., foreign language newspapers) and more content-based courses that examine major literary works, cultural and socio-political topics. Combined with the Area Studies and Study Abroad requirements, the language component builds more than just linguistic skills – it empowers students with the skills and knowledge to move beyond communication to in-depth understanding.

Each Huntsman student must declare a “target language” on the application. The target language is the language a student wishes to pursue as part of the curriculum and may be chosen from the following.

ArabicHindiPortuguese
Chinese (Mandarin)ItalianRussian
FrenchJapaneseSpanish
GermanKorean

Applicants must already have an intermediate proficiency in their target language. Proficiency is typically documented with enrollment in AP in the language during senior year or a 700 or above on the SAT subject test, whenever a SAT subject test is available or a letter grade of A on the O-level exam. For languages where a SAT subject test is not available or for less commonly taught languages, prospective applicants are encouraged to inquire with the Huntsman Program directly.

The Huntsman Program is also able to send a limited number of students needing extra language practice to intensive summer study programs after freshman year. Language schools or immersion programs abroad are carefully selected in consultation with the Huntsman academic advisors.

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Gaurav Madan

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Class: 2008

Hometown: Singapore
Career: Goldman Sachs, Hong Kong

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Between freshmen and sophomore year I studied at Peking University in Beijing, China on a Huntsman Summer Language Grant. This was an eye-opening experience: It gave me the opportunity to study Mandarin in a native setting and also exposed me to a completely new culture. Following this, I did my Huntsman semester abroad at St Stephen’s College in New Delhi, India where I read Hindi and took Indian Economics courses.

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