A true language barrier at MU

Maria Rovito
Managing Editor

As an English major, I am a person very interested in language and literature. In the future, I wish to obtain my PhD and study world literature of all cultures. This has been my career goal for quite some time.

When I met with my advisor to discuss about what sort of classes I should take in the fall, the topic of foreign languages came up as it always does. For those who want to study literature in graduate school, my advisor has recommended that I should be familiar with at least three or four languages, English included.

This is when I always have trouble finding courses at Millersville.

International Education Week

Looking at the different languages offered, I can undoubtedly say that my high school offers more foreign languages than Millersville does. This is just (a little) sad.

The foreign language department in McComsey (Kelsey Bundra/The Snapper).
The foreign language department in McComsey (Kelsey Bundra/The Snapper).

For example, all of the English professors whom I admire state that to effectively study world literature, one must read a text in its original language, not the translated version. To really know Dante, you need to read him in Italian. If you want to efficiently discuss Virgil, you need to read him in Latin. And to adequately understand Goethe, you need to read him in German.

There is no easy way around this. Others have told me that it is possible to study these authors translated into English; however, you are only getting a shadow of their original work. I want the real deal.

Looking at the foreign language classes offered for the fall 2015 semester, I have noticed that there are no Latin, Greek, Russian or Chinese classes offered at Millersville. There are two Japanese classes and one Italian class, but they must be taken off campus.

There are four German courses, two of which are introductory 101 classes. This is great, but I have six years of German under my belt, which disqualifies me from most of the German classes here at Millersville.

Fair enough. The problem is that I want to learn more languages, especially Latin or Greek. If I want to stay on campus, I have to take either French or Spanish.

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

My next option would be to register for these classes at Franklin & Marshall, and pay for them at the Millersville price. However, this would mean that I would have to travel off campus to take these classes, and most days, due to my hectic schedule, this is not an option. This is certainly true if a student interested in these classes does not have transportation to get off campus.

It appears that I will have to teach myself how to read texts in Latin over the summer and try to learn more German vocabulary on my own. I cannot understand how Millersville expects its students to make international relations with other countries while only speaking and learning the English language.

It is quite upsetting and frustrating to me that Millersville claims that they have global connections and values international students, yet does not offer the language programs necessary to communicate and understand other cultures.