Why learn a language?

The purpose of languages is to make connections between people; the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures is a group of individuals dedicated to helping connect our local students to the wider world community. We help our students connect with other people and cultures by helping them understand the thinking and worldviews of other cultures and parts of the world. This takes place through the study of the classics of great literature as well as via popular forms of communication.

Whether the object of study is an expression of “high” or “low” culture, students of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures develop an advanced level of proficiency in the target language over the course of their studies here. We help our students acquire an important skill set: concrete language abilities and cognitive tools that they can use for the rest of their lives. Along with the building of language skills, our department also provides opportunities here in the local community that foster cosmopolitanism and international consciousness, allowing our students to more easily embrace globalism and recognize their role as citizens of the world.

Faculty at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures educate future language teachers for Alaska and beyond. Our degrees serve the need of producing graduates that strengthen the Alaskan workforce, particularly in the area of language teaching. In this way, our work impacts not only UAF students, but also the quality of language education in the entire state.


Our Mission Statement

Language is the embodiment of culture and an expression of a people's way of thinking, feeling, and viewing the world. We have an increasing need to communicate directly with other peoples to achieve mutual understanding. Learning a new language opens new avenues of thought, new modes of expression, and new models of understanding. The study of foreign languages and literatures liberates the student from the confines of one culture.


Translation Policy

Because of liability issues, the UAF Department of Foreign Languages no longer offers translation services. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Alaska provides a list of qualified interpreters and notaries public to assist with documents, such as birth, death and marriage certificates. For a list of translators who may be contacted to assist you in the language of your choice.