Wesleyan University places the highest value on multilingual proficiency and we consider a semester or year abroad to be the ideal tool for achieving that proficiency. We strongly encourage our students to study one of the many languages taught at Wesleyan, and to study abroad in a country where that language is spoken. Students may also take advantage of preparing for study in other non-English speaking countries thanks to the self-instructional opportunities available through the FCGS.

In countries or regions whose language is taught at Wesleyan, the following requirements apply:

  • In French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish, students will be required to pursue their studies abroad through the medium of the target language. They will therefore need to reach the required level in their language instruction prior to going abroad.
  • For study in other languages taught at Wesleyan, students must meet Wesleyan's language prerequisite for the program and are encouraged to take all courses in the target language as their language level and program permit.
  • Students who have not progressed beyond the intermediate level before going abroad will be required to take the placement test upon returning to campus. This will allow us to determine the appropriate level for the continuation of their language studies at Wesleyan. It will also help us assess the quality of language instruction in the program abroad.

In countries where a language other than English is spoken, students are required to enroll in at least one course per semester in the language of their host country or region, even if the program’s language of instruction is English.  Students with prior knowledge of the native language will pursue their studies abroad through the medium of that language. 

Exceptions to this policy are made only for certain monothematic programs, as noted on the OSA web site. In such cases, students are strongly encouraged to study the relevant language for as long as possible before attending the program.

In order to benefit fully from the experience abroad, advance planning and preparation is crucial. Since the lack of practice leads to a rapid decline in proficiency, all students --including those who have already met the minimum requirement-- are expected to enroll in a course in the target language the semester before studying abroad. This expectation is established for the benefit of the students themselves. We cannot emphasize enough the correlation between a student's ability to communicate with their hosts and their adjustment to their new environment. Students are also strongly urged to continue to take courses in the target language after returning to Wesleyan in order to build on the skills and knowledge acquired abroad.


Student interested in studying on Wesleyan's programs in France or Spain are expected to have completed the equivalent of 5 semesters of university-level instruction (French 215 or Spanish 221) with a grade of B or better. Students planning to study on Wesleyan's program in Italy are expected to complete Italian 102 for fall or full year, 111 for spring. 

Highly qualified students with 4 semesters of college French or Spanish (French 112, Spanish 112) may be considered under special circumstances. Ordinarily, such students will have taken French or Spanish continually since their first term, will have completed only four semesters of college French or Spanish before going abroad, and will be able to document why they cannot study abroad in a different semester (e.g., major requirements, athletic schedule or theatrical production).

We strongly encourage students to enroll in a language course each semester before their term abroad, even after they have completed the prerequisite—especially the semester immediately before departure. Proficiency otherwise tends to fall off sharply.



All students abroad are expected to take full advantage of direct enrollment options in regular university courses to the extent that their linguistic capabilities permit. This policy is designed in the interest of our students’ cultural and academic immersion. Students with native or fluent proficiency in a foreign language are expected to take all of their courses through the direct enrollment option.


Students needing to study in an English-speaking country should choose a program that places its students in universities. They are expected to avoid programs that create courses for American students only or that place students in courses outside of the university context.