While the study of language has always been an important component of a Deerfield education, such study has become increasingly vital in today’s rapidly changing world. Deerfield offers instruction in four modern languages: Chinese, French, Arabic, and Spanish.
In the modern language courses at Deerfield, oral proficiency, competency in written expression, and cultural literacy are equally important. First and second levels stress rapid acquisition of vocabulary, fundamental grammatical skills, and cultural awareness. Third-year courses provide a comprehensive review of grammatical structures and an introduction to reading and composition. Fourth-year courses are usually devoted to the development of oral proficiency and literary skills. In the fifth and sixth level courses, students delve into the literature originally written in the language they are studying.
There are a number of international language programs available to Deerfield students. Deerfield is an associate member of the School Year Abroad Program (SYA). Each year several Deerfield juniors and seniors live with host families and attend school in Rennes (France), Zaragoza (Spain), or Beijing (China). In most years, there are summer trips abroad, organized and chaperoned by Deerfield faculty members, for students studying Chinese, French, Arabic, and Spanish.