Programs to Consider: World Languages
This article is part of a series spotlighting HFC academic and workforce programs leading to great careers. To view all HFC programs, visit this link.
HHFC’s world languages program is unique due to the combination of languages it offers.
You can learn any of the following languages:
“We are pleased to offer six different languages so students can select one or more that fit their interests and career goals,” said HFC School of Liberal Arts Interim Associate Dean Pamela Stewart.
Requirements and Career Opportunities
To take any of World Languages classes, first you should make sure you qualify for ENG 131: Introduction to College Writing. You can earn a certificate of achievement in any of the languages or an associate degree in liberal arts.
We always recommend you talk to one of our friendly, expert advisors to make sure you are on the right track.
Each language provides an understanding of the associated culture and develops capabilities in communication and culture. There are many career opportunities for students majoring in languages, including:
- Health careers
- STEM careers (particularly engineering)
- Social work
- International business
- Interpretation and translation work
- Education (at the P-12 or college level)
Great learning opportunities, from beginners to advanced students
HFC's World Language courses are set up to support people who have no knowledge of other languages, all the way to those who already have knowledge and skills to hone and improve.
Check out a few of the options below.
Tazeen Ayub is the lead faculty for Arabic. She spoke about how the College’s Arabic language program stands out.
“HFC is located in Dearborn, a city with a large Arabic-speaking population,” said Ayub. “Students taking Arabic at HFC have ample access to authentic materials and a lot of engagement with the target language.”
What also makes the program unique is a specialized course, ARA-130: Pre-Elementary Arabic. This class is great for students with no or limited Arabic language background, providing you an entire semester to learn the Arabic alphabet and become fluent in reading and writing the language.
“We are one of the only educational institutions in this region to offer this course,” said Ayub. “For anyone looking to work in the Dearborn-Detroit area, knowing Arabic is a huge benefit, as we have a large and diverse Arabic-speaking population. Students in health careers, education, and political science (among other programs) will have an edge over others with potential employers who are always looking for bilingual and multilingual professionals to serve their diverse clients/customers.”
There's also the fun aspect. “Regardless of work opportunities, Arabic courses at HFC are fun, just like language learning in general. Our classes are hands-on and extremely engaging, full of diverse activities and games that create a safe and enjoyable learning environment. Plus, we offer in-person, hybrid, and online sections of most of our courses.”
Ayub spoke about the benefits of learning Arabic.
“Beyond work and career opportunities, learning Arabic is a great way to learn more about Middle Eastern and North African cultures and to become a more global-minded and culturally sensitive and aware person,” she said. “Learning a new language, especially one with a completely different alphabet system such as Arabic, is a great way to build confidence. With just one semester of Arabic, students are able to read Arabic, write Arabic, as well as use basic conversational skills. “
Related content: Tazeen Ayub provides a preview of Arabic classes.
Hollie Saraswat is the lead faculty for German. She explained her approach to teaching German and answered the question: Why should I take German?
“German employers have a large presence in Michigan: The Mercedes-Benz Group, Siemens, to name a few,” said Saraswat. “German-speaking students are the most financially successful – they have the largest gain in income – because of Germany’s economic role in the world. Another bonus for speaking German: It’s an excellent language to learn if you pursue a career in the STEM fields.”
Saraswat’s goal is to help you communicate in German as soon as possible after you begin classes.
“I have a communicative approach to teaching German, so you can apply German without it being a grammar-based, lecture-heavy class. German has a complicated noun system. I teach concepts in the context they’re needed,” she explained.
Related content: Hollie Saraswat provides a preview of German classes.
World Languages faculty chair Maggie Rutkowski is the lead faculty for Spanish. She has taught Spanish at HFC since 2013.
“I bring a unique perspective to teaching Spanish at a community college, having come from a 4-year university,” said Rutkowski. “I understand the expectations 4-year universities have for transfer students, particularly liberal arts majors, in regard to its placement exams. I know how these placement exams are designed. This will benefit you when you transfer and give you a leg up.”
Here is the recommended sequence of courses for Spanish.
When HFC had to transfer all its academic operations online due to the pandemic, both Stewart and Rutkowski agreed World Languages (along with the rest of the College) made the transition well. According to Rutkowski, all languages have incorporated online tools, such as Google Suite and Memrise.
“We cap our classes at 24 students,” said Stewart. “We also use a fair amount of technology to game-ify learning, reducing student stress.”
A personal connection with students
According to Rutkowski, it’s not uncommon to see siblings and spouses taking language classes together.
“It’s pretty common for faculty here at the College to enroll in other faculty’s classes,” said Stewart. “In fact, my husband and I will be taking SPN 131: Elementary Spanish I this fall.“
“Unlike a lot of colleges, we connect personally to each of our students in World Languages. Placement is a big issue to us,” said Rutkowski. “We don’t want students to be repeating classes that they already took in high school. We want them to learn and grow, expand their horizons, expand their options. We don’t want them in lower-level classes when they could be challenging themselves, especially since they are receptive to being challenged and want something new. We’re always conducting conversations with students to determine what’s the best placement for them.”