Department of Modern Languages

Olivet’s mission is to lead students to improved proficiency in world languages through a program that focuses on communication in the target language, real-life practice and cultural competence in order to equip them to serve God in local and international settings.

Group of laughing students

About the Degree

At Olivet, modern language students explore and experience reading, writing, speaking, listening, linguistics and visual literacy. These language studies go way beyond the high school level. Students prepare to be effective communicators by immersing themselves in speaking and writing. They also study and experience the culture.

For example, learning to communicate in Spanish opens the doors to form relationship, to do life, and ultimately to share faith with millions of native Spanish speakers. Without the ability to communicate competently, many of these opportunities would not exist. Competency in Spanish also allows students to serve Hispanic populations locally and internationally.

Close up image of laughing female student
Detail photo of Burke architecture
Group of smiling friends posing in the Quad


Areas of Study Within the Department

Outside the Classroom

Serving the Local Community

Spanish students often volunteer as translators for Hispanic families in the Kankakee area school systems. Additionally, there are multiple community organizations and churches in which to get involved and use Spanish-speaking skills.

Group of students in the city

Off-Campus Study

More than a dozen study abroad programs provide opportunity for experiencing languages in other cultures and countries.

Learn More About this Program

By the Numbers


minutes from Chicago’s diverse cultural community


student-to-faculty ratio


Hispanic people living in the U.S.

Chair, Modern Languages Department

Nancy Bonilla

After college graduation, Nancy Bonilla worked as a missionary and later as a teacher for Niños de Mexico in Mexico. Her husband, Jorge, is a native of Mexico. Her doctoral research focused on foreign language pedagogy and oral proficiency development.

Modern Languages Faculty

Headshot of Timothy Hodges

My time at Olivet transformed me through intentional & meaningful relationships.

Photo of smiling group of students

Possible Careers After Graduation

  • High school teacher
  • Missionary
  • Minister
  • Teacher of English or Spanish in other countries
  • Interpreter
  • Government contractor
  • Nonprofit organization specialist
  • Professor
  • English as a Second Language teacher

Double Majoring

Spanish is an excellent choice for double majoring with business, social work and other majors.