Home » Centre receives $1 million gift to support foreign language study

Centre receives $1 million gift to support foreign language study

DANVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2013) — Centre College has received a $1 million donation from an anonymous donor to encourage foreign language study and comprehension by Centre students and faculty. The endowment gift will help fund travel to foreign countries.

Seventy-five percent of the gift is intended for study abroad grants to qualified students who have completed two years of foreign language study at Centre and want to travel to a country where that language is spoken.

The remaining 25 percent of the gift is intended for Centre language faculty to travel to nations where the language they teach is spoken.

Centre currently offers courses in nine languages, including Catalan, Chinese, French, German, Greek (ancient and New Testament), Hebrew (Biblical and modern), Japanese, Latin and Spanish. In addition, languages such as Arabic and Aramaic can be pursued as independent study courses.

Language classes at Centre have the primary goal of teaching within context. This allows students to understand the connection between the history and culture of a country while acquiring its language.

Because an average 85 percent of Centre students study abroad, language skills are developed further beyond the campus. In fact, home stays with host families are quite common, and these real-life experiences immerse students in the language and culture of the country of study.

Milton Reigelman, who oversees study abroad at Centre as director of the Center for Global Citizenship, is delighted with news of the gift and sees it as helping make an already strong program in study abroad even stronger, supporting Centre’s status as a national leader in international education.

Currently ranked No. 1 in the nation among baccalaureate colleges by the Institute of International Education for its participation rates, Centre was also recently ranked No. 4 in the nation for study abroad among all colleges and universities, public and private, by U.S. News & World Report.

“We like to say that study abroad at Centre is part of the College’s DNA because the concept of global citizenship is woven through every aspect of our educational program,” Reigelman says. “An important part of this educational process is being conversant in other languages.”

Study abroad is guaranteed as part of the Centre Commitment, along with graduation in four years and an internship or research experience. In fact, it is becoming more common for Centre students to span the globe as they pursue international internships. In the last several years alone, Centre students have interned in countries such as Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Honduras, Israel and Mexico.

Students preferring semester-long study abroad options can choose among residential programs in China, England, France, Japan, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Spain.

The new foreign language study program, funded through the $1 million endowment gift, will go into effect next academic year.