• Spanish class

Languages

Moving beyond words

At Bennington, students learn a language while creating with it. From day one, reading and writing, listening and speaking are all directed towards discussing complex cultural ideas, leading students to perform, tell stories, conduct research, create art objects, and analyze cultural artifacts.

Above all, content drives course design; faculty offer classes that draw on their own expertise and respond to the needs and interests of students. Faculty curate materials to stimulate intellectual discovery and teach students to read and listen critically to various types of texts. At all levels of instruction, small seminars allow students to challenge preconceived notions, compare and defend ideas, and develop linguistic proficiency.

Students are encouraged to draw on their work in other disciplines, time abroad, and Field Work Term experiences, all of which enrich classroom discussions and inform advanced work. In projects for language classes, students have written and directed plays, made comics and animation, choreographed dances, performed songs, created films and video essays, and written poems, theses, translations, and creative works.

The emphasis on language proficiency through diverse content allows our graduates to make a  seamless transition into the working world of ideas. Recent graduates have pursued work in areas including arts administration, environmental entrepreneurship, cultural mediation, curriculum design, education, language pedagogy, research, theater and dance as well as pursuing graduate studies in literature, education, art history, and environmental studies.  

At Bennington, students work closely with faculty to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice—their Plan—taking advantage of the College's resources both inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work. 

Courses

Language courses at Bennington are small seminars that privilege active participation, recognizing that critical, disciplined thought goes hand-in-hand with linguistic proficiency, at any level.

Faculty

Faculty in languages bring a deep knowledge of and wide-ranging research into the cultural context of languages in which they teach.

Alumni

Students learn languages so that they can engage directly with people and issues across the world—a practice that becomes a profession for many.

​Ann Goldstein '71
​Ann Goldstein '71
Jeff Peer '06
Jeff Peer '06
Forest Purnel '14
Forest Purnel '14
Ben Underwood '13
Ben Underwood '13
Priscilla Alexander '58
Priscilla Alexander '58
Douglas Biow '79
Douglas Biow '79
​Ann Goldstein '71

New Yorker editor, translator, and the public face of the secretive, critically acclaimed Italian author Elena Ferrante

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Jeff Peer '06

Fulbright fellow who studies a form of 20th century Mexican literary journalism, crónica urbana

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Forest Purnel '14

Won a Fulbright to bring worldwide audiences face-to-face with current Chinese culture-makers

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Ben Underwood '13

Entrepreneur and a U.S.–China “rising star” in the alternative energy sector

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Priscilla Alexander '58

Founder of Protravel International and Travel Weekly Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

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Douglas Biow '79

Guggenheim fellow and professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at University of Texas at Austin

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