Union College pioneered the study of modern languages 200 years ago, when other American colleges and universities offered only the ancient languages of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. Today, Union continues in this tradition, recognizing the essential importance of the past, but acutely aware that because students live in an increasingly interdependent world, their need for a global education, including more than one culture and language, is greater than ever.

Union offers a comprehensive program in the study of modern languages, literatures, and cultures. We teach courses in the original languages, as well as in translation. There are full programs leading to a major in French, Spanish, and German; an interdepartmental major in Russian; and minors in Chinese and Japanese (students can count courses from these programs toward a major in East Asian Studies). Union also offers a year of Hebrew; a course in Italian for students preparing for the term abroad in Florence, Italy; a course in Portuguese for students preparing for the term in Brazil; and the possibility of study in Arabic.