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To choose the best foreign language program, your first step might be to decide whether you would like to earn an academic degree or certification, or whether you would prefer simply to receive training. Most academic programs require applicants to have earned certain qualifications, such as passing proficiency exams or maintaining minimum grade point averages. Admission to a program that does not offer students the potential to earn degrees normally requires fewer qualifications. In either case, you may want to consider the quality of each potential program and choose the one that offers the best faculty and method of training for a price you can afford.
A foreign language program is any course or series of courses that an individual can take to acquire a better knowledge and understanding of a language that is not primarily spoken in his or her place of residence. Many programs offer courses that are based on levels of proficiency. For example, a beginner's course in Russian may be designed for students who have no exposure to that language. Students who have had some experience speaking Russian, on the other hand, but who are not yet fluent may take intermediate courses.
Students who apply to college level foreign language programs must usually fill out applications and take proficiency exams that can help determine at which level they belong. Many students choose schools based on factors such as faculty profiles, availability of funding, and the potential for language immersion. In language immersion programs, students may have the opportunity to travel to regions where the language that they are studying is widely spoken. Many language educators believe that this is the most effective way for individuals to learn languages with which they are unfamiliar.
If you are interested in a foreign language program that does not offer the potential to earn academic certification, you may want to consider factors such as location and cost. Most people find that they need to attend classes often in order to learn a language. If you attend a foreign language program that requires you to travel a long distance, you might be tempted to miss classes due to time constraints. Likewise, a program that is too expensive might cause financial stress that can have a negative impact on your performance.
A popular choice for many people who are interested in second language acquisition is an online foreign language program. You can access these courses from any location where there is a reliable Internet connection. These programs also tend to be the least expensive.