Culture and Language Acquisition at Sage (CLAS)

China Italy

French: 74 million native speakers
Italian: 59 million native speakers
Mandarin Chinese: 955 million native speakers
Arabic: 293 million native speakers
Portuguese: 220 million native speakers
Russian: 154 million native speakers


A New Approach to Learning a Second Language

The main goals of the Culture and Language Acquisition at Sage (CLAS) program are to promote communicative skills in different languages, to develop cultural understanding, to help students in becoming responsible global citizens, and to achieve global competencies. The program also mentors students as they gain functional proficiency in foreign languages, such as Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese and French. Moreover, the program prepares students to study or live abroad, enhance professional development, and pursue personal interests while working with native speakers and language acquisition specialists.

Program Goals

  • To encourage the development of the following skills: conversational speaking, listening-comprehension through significant exposure to real native speakers, and basic reading and writing in their new language. 
  • To foster the use of cognitive and communicative strategies that will help students to improve their overall academic performance affecting positively their intellectual development.
  • To enable students to become active, competitive and well-qualified individuals who can apply their knowledge to enhance their career opportunities and succeed in the labor market.
  • To cultivate cultural awareness, valuing language diversity as a way to become responsible and committed citizens of the world.  

Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge of the following skills: conversational speaking, listening-comprehension through significant exposure to real native speakers, and basic reading and writing in their new language. 
  • An effective use of cognitive and communicative strategies to improve their overall academic performance as well as their intellectual development.
  • An active and competitive attitude to enhance their career opportunities and succeed in the labor market.
  • Cultural awareness by valuing language diversity and developing a respectful and committed role as citizens of the world.

Benefits of Studying a Second Language

According to research by the National Security Education Program there are five primary reasons to include a foreign language in your education:

  1. Foreign language programs improve students’ overall academic performance.
    As a result of their language studies, students have higher SAT-Verbal test scores, ACT test scores, math test scores, and English reading scores.
  2. Foreign language programs positively affect students’ intellectual development.   
    Those who have studied foreign languages retain the cognitive benefits well into adulthood and old age. Immersion programs in particular increase students’ IQ.
  3. Foreign language programs help close the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students, the learning disabled, and English as a second language learners.
    All students, regardless of intelligence or learning disability, can succeed in learning another language and culture.
  4. Foreign language programs enhance students’ career opportunities.
    The global economy necessitates that students understand other languages and cultures in order to secure the most competitive careers.
  5. Foreign language programs provide students the opportunity to explore other cultures and more fully understand their own.
    As students learn another language and culture, they begin to evaluate their own ways of thinking and viewing the world.  Students develop an appreciation for themselves and those who are different from them.

Personal Attention

Students are in regular contact with the language coordinator throughout the semester in addition to virtual meetings with Studio Coaches in Rosetta Stone's Studio sessions. Read this article from Russell Sage College's student newspaper, The Quill, to find out more about the program.

Student Video Testimonials

Mirka Soler

CLAS Student Video Testimonial

Launch Video »

Hayley Quinn

CLAS Student Video Testimonial

Launch Video »

Danielle Cavalluzzi

CLAS Student Video Testimonial

Launch Video »

Ashley Vega

CLAS Student Video Testimonial

Launch Video »

Olivia Tooley

CLAS Student Video Testimonial

Launch Video »

Lucila Esquivel

CLAS Student Video Testimonial

Launch Video »

International House

CLAS students have the option of living in International House (aka French House). 

Preference will be given to: 

  • students taking foreign language classes while living at International House
  • students who will be studying abroad while living in International House
  • students who are native speakers of a foreign language
  • students who participate in language and cultural programs

Please contact the Office of Residence Life at (518) 244-2008 or residencelife@sage.edu for more information.

For more information about Culture and Language Acquisition at Sage, please contact Dr. Kate Kagan, CLAS Coordinator, at kagane@sage.edu.