Writing & Languages

Learning A Foreign Language at Duke

Most language departments at Duke focus on communication in their introductory courses. The goal is for students to develop competence in listening, speaking, reading and writing over the course of two to three or four semesters, as well as to learn about the culture and literature of the language.

Duke Trinity College of Arts and Sciences requires one to three courses in Foreign Language, depending on level of proficiency.
See: http://trinity.duke.edu/academic-requirements

Even if you’ve taken a language in high school, college language learning can be daunting because:

  • You have to juggle regular, often daily, language course work with all of your other courses.
  • Your professor may speak only in the foreign language in class.
  • You may be required to read and understand grammar rules on your own.
  • You may be shy about speaking in class.
  • Your strategies for language learning in high school may not be adequate for the demands of language courses here.

Some of Duke’s language departments offer access to a designated departmental tutor, and some require that your language professor recommend you for such tutoring. Many offer language tables for additional practice in listening and speaking, or can recommend specific podcasts (some with online transcripts for checking your understanding) that are slow enough for beginners in the language to follow. Ask your professor about these and other language learning resources.

The Academic Resource Center’s Peer Tutoring Program offers free one-on-one peer tutoring (conversation only, for some languages) in any language taught at Duke, through level 76. In addition, an Academic Resource Center ASIP learning specialist can work with you individually to develop strategies for language learning that fit your learning style and draw upon your learning strengths.

Writing Support at Duke

We at the Academic Resource Center are pleased to refer students to The Writing Studio, Duke University’s resource for developing skills to improve as a writer. The Writing Studio’s trained writing tutors offer Duke undergraduate and graduate students scheduled conferences for discussing individual writing concerns.

For information about The Writing Studio and its tutors, for resources for writers, and to schedule an appointment, please visit The Writing Studio’s website