Lauder Community Language Initiative Expands Horizons

The Lauder Community Language Initiative offers beginner-level language classes to students, faculty, and staff

The Lauder Institute has long been recognized for its commitment to preparing interculturally competent students for global careers through language study. Our student body has a deep interest in language learning, with approximately 80% of Lauder students enrolled in regional-focused language programs. Responding to student interest in additional language learning opportunities, the Institute introduced optional beginner language modules in the 2019-20 academic year which now take place annually every Spring semester.

Under the guidance of Dr. Mili Lozada Cerna, Faculty Director of Language and Culture Programs, these modules have become a staple of the Lauder experience. Designed to be inclusive, they welcome not only students but also partners, faculty, and staff. Approximately 25% of Lauder students participate in these not-for-credit language modules. The offerings have expanded steadily over the years, with French, Mandarin, Spanish, and Portuguese available in 2023, and the addition of Arabic in 2024.

In-person classes are designed to be intimate, fostering a conducive environment for learning and interaction. There is an average of 5-10 students per class and participants engage in weekly 1.5 hour lessons over 6 weeks, with classes scheduled during lunch or in the early evenings. According to Lozada-Cerna, “This structure allows for focused learning while accommodating busy schedules. The small classes, which are a mix of faculty, staff, partners, and students, provide a meaningful community-building opportunity. By the end of the modules, participants can speak and understand common words and phrases, and they have enough information to determine whether they want to pursue further learning in that language.”

Beginner language modules, provided free of charge to participants, are made possible through the support of the Richard and Ursula von Rheinbaben Fund.

>>>Learn more about the Lauder Institute’s language programs and curriculum