Thursday, January 17, 2013

Top Language Universities: USA

One of the great places to learn languages that we mentioned recently was universities. What if you're thinking about learning languages or even studying them? There are so many fantastic institutions to expand your mind, grow as a person and eventually master a language that we couldn't possibly have them all in one post. To make things simple we've included the institutions with the best language programmes in the United States.

A 1902 college poster for Columbia
depicting a typical student.
Columbia University 

Originally founded by royal charter of King George II of Great Britain as King's College, Columbia University is the first Ivy League school to show up on the list. The Ivies are known to be some of the best in the United States, as well as the most difficult to get into. They're often thought of as being only for the rich and elite, but they actually do provide quite a bit of funding to lower-income students who can prove their intelligence. There's a large price tag for admission, but Columbia is located on the island of Manhattan, so it might be worth it to live in the centre of New York City which is teeming with diversity and places to explore. 

Stanford University 

If you're interested in studying in Silicon Valley, then Stanford is the place for you. Its full name is actually Leland Stanford Junior University, created in honour of the only son of a former California governor who died of typhoid at age 15. Besides having a great language programme, they're also known for being one of the top universities in the world for computer science studies, and their graduates include the founders of Google, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo! and Sun Microsystems.

The Wrigley Building in Chicago.
University of Chicago

This university is the only on our list located in the Midwest, the heart of the United States. Not only can you study modern languages in one of the largest cities in the U.S., but there are also courses available in extinct ancient languages such as Akkadian, used between the 29th and 8th centuries BC!

University of California, Berkeley (Cal)

California's best-rated university for languages is priced at about $20,000 for non-Californians, which comes to about half the price of the private universities on the East Coast. It's located along the San Francisco Bay, so you won't have to deal with the frigid winters you'd find in Chicago. You can also revel in its history as one of the centres of the hippie subculture movement in the mid-1960s. 

Princeton University

Though it doesn't rate quite as highly as Yale and Harvard, you can be assured of a high quality education in languages, which you might not expect to find in New Jersey. Its main university library is one of the largest in the world with nearly four million volumes, meaning there are plenty of foreign language books to assist in your studies.

An illustration of Yale and its chapel from 1786.
Yale University

This university hasn't been around as long as Yoda, who lived to 900 years, but is still the second best for modern languages in the U.S. and only fourth in the whole world (behind Oxford and Cambridge). It could also offer the right student the perfect start in Connecticut. If you're lucky, you might get invited into a secret society like Skull and Bones... two of its most famous former members are John Kerry and George W. Bush, who ran for president against each other in 2004. If we knew what they did at their meetings we'd tell you, but unfortunately it's a well-kept secret. 

Harvard University

Hardly surprising that one of the world's most famous educational institutions tops the list. It wouldn't be up there if the classes were terrible. The university was founded 140 years before the Declaration of Independence was written... would that make it a British university? The institution is famous the world over and with good reason.  If you're looking for language education, won't take anything but the best and you're made of money, then Harvard is the place to be. Nearly $40,000 per year in tuition alone could be too rich for some students' blood, though.