Phone: 206.239.4780
 

World Language Program FAQ

Can you earn university credit for classes taken at Washington Academy of Languages?
No, our classes are offered as continuing education credit only.
How long does it take to achieve fluency in a foreign language?
The time it takes to achieve fluency in a language depends on the student and the language.   For example, in general, Asian and Middle Eastern languages require more time to master than Romance languages. The amount of focused study completed outside of class is an important factor in becoming fluent. The student’s commitment, level of motivation, previous experience studying other languages and freedom from the fear of making mistakes are also determining factors.  Washington Academy of Languages provides opportunities for practice with native speakers too.  Ask about our Conversation Partner program!
Is it better to learn a language from a native speaker?
While some students prefer learning a language from a native speaker, it is important to understand that being a native speaker is not an essential qualification of a good language instructor.  Qualities to look for in a language instructor are experience, patience, appropriate educational background and the ability to foster an atmosphere in the classroom that is comfortable and conducive to learning.  Non-native speaking teachers of languages must be native-equivalent in their fluency.
How is a typical language class taught at Washington Academy of Languages?
Typically, class is conducted mainly in the target language and emphasizes building fluency through conversations about topics of  interest and usefulness. In-class simulations include ordering meals at a restaurant, asking for directions and other common situations. Grammar points are discussed. Reading and writing are part of the course but are not a major focus. Depending on the level of the  class, the amount of English spoken in class varies. A student can expect to listen and speak in the target language about 80% of the  time with less usage of English as the student progresses to more advanced-level classes. Learning a language does not mean learning  to translate from one language to another; it means thinking in that language and producing meaningful communication-grammatical corrections come with time and practice.
How much homework should I expect?
The amount of homework expected by an instructor will vary depending on the instructor and the format of the class.  You will gain more from the class if you study outside of the class.
Is it better to learn in a group setting or in a one-on-one setting?
It depends on the objectives and schedule of the student.  Regularly scheduled group classes provide opportunities for group work and are not as intense as one-on-one courses because of the turn-taking.  Curriculum is standardized.  Alternately, some students prefer a more intensive learning experience or they want to focus on particular skills or specific content or their schedules require varying meeting times.  In these instances, a one-on-one setting is more appropriate.  Washington Academy of Languages offers both options to students.
What is the age range of students in a typical language class at Washington Academy of Languages?
Classes at Washington Academy of Languages are comprised mostly of university students and adults.  While classes at Washington Academy of Languages are generally designed for people of this age range, motivated high school students (juniors and seniors) have successfully completed foreign language group classes. 16 is the minimum age.
How many students are enrolled in a typical language class at Washington Academy of Languages?
The number of students in a class ranges from 4 to 15.  We believe that a small class benefits both the student and the instructor.  The student has more opportunities to communicate and the instructor is better able to discern student learning styles and needs.
I’ve never studied another language before.  Is language learning difficult?
Many of our students are beginning language learners.  Making mistakes is an important and natural step in the process of language acquisition.  Students should remember that there is no such thing as a ‘quick-fix’ when it comes to learning another language.  The more willing a student is to devote time to this process, the more successful the student will be.  Practice, practice, practice!
I want more practice speaking the language I am studying at Washington Academy of Languages.  What can I do?
Washington Academy of Languages offers a Conversation Partners program for students interested in practicing outside of the classroom.  This program matches students studying a particular language with native speakers of that language who are studying English as a Second Language.  This is an excellent way to learn about the life and culture of people who speak the language you are studying.  Please note, student speakers of all languages taught at Washington Academy of Languages are not always available.  For further information on how to get started, please inquire at wal@cityu.edu.
How will I know when a new schedule is posted?
You can sign up for schedule updates here.
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