Majors and Minors

School ofModern Languages

ContinueContinue to the Modern Languages Department's website

Why Modern Languages?

Southern’s Modern Languages Department enhances the understanding of other cultures and promotes global interaction.

  • This comprehensive program offers several different languages, including American Sign Language courses.
  • Upon graduation, all students are able to read and speak the language(s) of their declared major at an intermediate level to advanced level per American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) national standards. In addition, graduates have been exposed to the aesthetic, historical, and social backgrounds of those who speak these languages.
  • Each professor is a native speaker or has a near-native level of fluency in the language taught.
  • Tutors are available in all languages offered.
  • The program is approved for Spanish and French teacher certification at the secondary level (grades K-12).
  • Participation in Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) for one year is required for all modern languages majors. Summer ACA programs are highly encouraged for minors.
  • The ACA program does not delay graduation for language or international studies majors. Students take full loads abroad and earn credits that transfer back to Southern. Even students who are pursuing teacher certification can complete a modern languages degree in four years with one year of studying abroad included.
  • Once modern languages majors return from studying abroad for a full year, they are eligible to apply for one of the department's two scholarships.

Interesting Facts

Students in Action

  • Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) offers academic year programs in nine countries and summer programs in 10 countries. Students studying abroad receive care packages from Southern. 
  • Language classes require conversation groups, and selected courses include a service component. 
  • The department hosts two student organizations: the Student Organization for Deaf Awareness (SODA) and Alpha Mu Gamma (a national collegiate foreign language honor society). 
  • Students have access to web-based interactive language assistance with language proficiency. 
  • There is a Spanish-speaking church on campus. 
  • A monthly French-speaking Sabbath school is held in Miller Hall during the academic year. 
  • A weekly French-speaking Haitian Sabbath school is held at Collegedale Academy.
  • Internship opportunities are available in other countries while studying with ACA.

Marks of Distinction

  • All full-time faculty members hold doctorate degrees.
  • The national standards of ACTFL are built into the modern languages curriculum. These standards help students reach a high level of fluency in their chosen language.
  • American Sign Language (ASL) classes offer beginning and intermediate levels of study, along with a course in Deaf Culture.
  • The department has experienced steady growth in the last several years and continues to be proactive in expanding.

Statistics to Note

  • Each year 50-60 Southern students study abroad. Explore their stories from around the world.
  • Nearly 100 percent of those who responded to the department alumni survey in the last three years have either accepted jobs, gone on to graduate school, or chosen to participate in mission work.


  • Pierre Nzokizwa, PhDPierre Nzokizwa, PhDProfessor
  • Adrienne Royo, PhDAdrienne Royo, PhDChair

The professors get
excited when we
try out our new
language skills.
Sarah Ruf, ’13International Studies Major

Students practice their language skills


Labs and Classrooms

The Modern Languages Department is in Miller Hall. All classrooms are equipped with media and wireless access. The language lab, with 22 computer workstations, also serves as a classroom. The seminar room holds journals, books, and periodicals in various languages; and a tutor room facilitates student conversation with language tutors. Miller Hall is also home to the Pierson Room, where students, faculty, and staff gather for various activities such as film series, orientation meetings, and Sabbath services shared in languages other than English.


Jobs that are available to a modern languages major include:

  • ADRA worker
  • Advertising copywriter 
  • Archivist
  • AWR employee 
  • Copy editor
  • Court interpreter
  • Cultural officer
  • Customs/immigration officer 
  • Interpreter/Gguide 
  • Foreign language teacher/professor
  • Foreign news correspondent
  • Intelligence researcher international banker
  • International conference planner
  • International consultant
  • International trade specialist
  • Missionary 
  • Social worker
  • Translation service travel agent


Graduates from Southern's program are serving in a variety of positions, including:

  • Insurance broker with Bowring Marsh in Bermuda
  • Dean and assistant to the ACA program director at Istituto Avventista Villa Aurora in Florence, Italy
  • Assistant to the head of five departments in the Euro-African Division of Seventh-day Adventists in Berne, Switzerland
  • Medical interpreter for the Hamilton County Health Department in Tennessee
  • Flight attendant for a major airline
  • Spanish high school teacher in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Spanish teacher for children of employees at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Director of ADRA-France
  • Teacher in Korea
  • Spanish teacher at an academy in Miami, Florida
  • Director's assistant at school in Italy

Contact Modern Languages

Rayna Robinson

I am a part
   of Southern.
You should be too! Zanzabar JonesSophmore