Navigating academia with many different interests can leave you needing clarification about how to pursue them. As a senior in high school, I had studied French since my freshman year and didn’t want to give it up. Upon enrolling at NYU, I discovered I could pursue French as a minor, which opened up exciting opportunities for me. Are you interested in studying languages at NYU? Here’s what I’ve learned over the past few years!

How Many Classes Will I Take?

Depending on the program’s requirement, you will need to take four or five classes to complete your minor. That’s between 16 and 18 credits. I only needed to take four classes for my French minor. So I spread them evenly across my first three years at NYU. Many students schedule one minor-related class per semester to stay on track.

The kind of classes you’ll take will also vary by department. Some language minors may require one prerequisite class before you can select the remaining courses. Others, like Italian, are more strict and dictate nearly every class you must take.

A note pad and headphones are surrounded by flags of different nations

How Do I Schedule My Classes?

Students can sign up for language classes during the course selection period each semester. Every student receives a registration time in November and April. If you don’t want to pursue a language major or minor but still want to study a language and take a class, that’s possible, too!

The College of Arts and Science (CAS) offers the majority of language courses. At CAS, courses normally run twice a week. However, language classes occur more frequently, anywhere between three and five days a week. My French classes were usually held on a Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday schedule. Therefore, many students in demanding programs prefer to minor in languages due to schedule constraints.

Where Do I Start?

If you already have some knowledge of a language you’d like to study, you can take a placement exam to determine your proficiency. I took the French placement exam and skipped to Intermediate French II, the fourth class in the sequence. When I started the class, I worried that it would be too difficult for me to follow. I had taken French for three years in high school but not during my senior year. I worried that the gap in my French education would hurt me, but my professor assured me that it was better to challenge myself than sit bored because the content was too easy. 

An aux cord plugs into jacks with flags of different languages represented

What Other Opportunities Do I Have at NYU?

Studying languages opens up a plethora of opportunities for students to take advantage of through NYU. For example, studying away becomes easier when you’re familiar with the local language. While many study away students opt to reside in dorms, some choose to live in homestays for deeper cultural immersion with host families.

Additionally, now that I’m on the French department mailing list, I regularly receive emails with job opportunities. Positions include au pairs, English teachers, and other volunteer roles!

Lastly, a lot of language professors will offer their students the opportunity to explore different pockets of New York City. The beauty of attending school in the city is that a lot of opportunities are right outside your door. My last French professor arranged a trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art to visit specific installations of Louis XIV and Louis XV and discuss their historical significance. The opportunities are endless!

All in all, though studying languages can be difficult to coordinate with a busy schedule, the outcomes can be extremely rewarding! Now that I finished my French minor, I am excited to exercise my skills through watching different television shows and writing and speaking in French as often as possible. I’ve enjoyed learning the language from my professors and hope to reassure prospective students that they can to.

Cecily Johnson is a rising senior from the Philadelphia suburbs studying Film and TV Production, Producing, and French. While on campus she is an Admissions Ambassador, the Treasurer for Tisch-affiliated club The Collective, and a Resident Assistant in a first-year residence hall. Though Cecily loves living a busy lifestyle, she’s often making efforts to slow down a bit as she enjoys taking walks, photography, weightlifting at 404, and trying new foods. In the future, she hopes to work in the media and entertainment field, ideally as a television showrunner, and wants nothing more than to contribute to the creative sphere with her personal touch.