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

The CLAS Program is designed to:

  • achieve an elementary/intermediate level in the following skills: conversational speaking, listening-comprehension, and basic reading and writing in the target language
  • foster the use of cognitive strategies that will help students to compare and contrast the target language and its cultures with their own
  • cultivate cultural awareness, valuing language diversity as a way to become responsible and committed citizens of the world
  • enable students to become active participants of multilingual and multicultural communities  

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the program will be able to:

  • demonstrate communicative proficiency in the target language and the ability to comprehend texts and interact orally at the appropriate level according to the ACTFL Performance Guidelines
  • analyze similarities and differences across languages and cultures to better understand and critically reflect on their own world view
  • recognize and demonstrate an awareness of the social, artistic, historical, and cultural aspects of the peoples who speak the target language
  • participate actively in extended learning experiences with native speakers from different multicultural communities

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

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CLAS Student Video Testimonial

Launch Video »

Hayley Quinn

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CLAS Student Video Testimonial

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Danielle Cavalluzzi

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CLAS Student Video Testimonial

Launch Video »

Ashley Vega

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CLAS Student Video Testimonial

Launch Video »

Olivia Tooley

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CLAS Student Video Testimonial

Launch Video »

Lucila Esquivel

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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.