Top 11 Free Online College Classes for Foreign Language

A foreign language degree is studying your chosen language to improve your understanding and proficiency of that language. Foreign language degrees are prevalent and in-demand, so popular that most US colleges and universities today offer several languages degrees, including Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Italian. Some offer free online college classes for foreign languages from different online platforms. Foreign language degrees greatly vary across universities. There are even some that combine joint honor degrees. Thus, if your plans of obtaining a degree in a foreign language, it’s best to check with your chose  

FAQS
What Should You Study in Highschool If You Plan to Pursue a Foreign Language Degree?
What Can You Do After Earning a Degree in Foreign Languages?
Is Online Language Learning a Good Idea?

The Top 11 Free Online College Classes for Foreign Language in 2022
Italian Language and Culture: Beginner (Wellesley College via edX)
Spanish Vocabulary Project (Spanish for Beginners) (The University of California, Davis via Coursera)
Blended Language Learning: Design and Practice for Teachers (University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera )
Spanish for Bilingual Student (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Introduction to French Culture (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Tricky American English Pronunciation (The University of California, Irvine via Coursera)
Teach English Now: Theories of Second Language Acquisition (Arizona State University via Coursera)
Spanish Vocabulary: Meeting People (University of California Davis via Coursera)
Speak English Professionally: In-Person, Online, and on the Phone (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Croeso: Beginners’ Welsh (The Open University)
Beginners’ German: Places and People (The Open University )

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should You Study in Highschool If You Plan to Pursue a Foreign Language Degree?

Ideally, it’s best that you already have a background in the foreign language you intend to enroll in college up to an intermediate level during your high school years. However, it’s worth reaching out to your chosen university for entry options, in case high school subjects related to language are not credited when you enter college. However, there are still institutions that allow their students to study a foreign language ab-initio. 

Some schools also acknowledge those who already took up beginners modules before enrolling in the foreign language degree. Modules are also often supported through regular assessments, seminars, presentations, and encouraged independent study. 

Other subjects that can complement a foreign language degree are some subjects in humanities and arts. This includes history, politics, English literature, and language. Still, you cannot find any definitive list of the subjects that you can study alongside foreign languages. 

What Can You Do After Earning a Degree in Foreign Languages?

If you hold a degree in a foreign language, it’s relatively easy for you to land a job in different sectors because of your acquired transferrable skills. The most popular career in this field is teaching, whether teaching English as a second language (ESL) or teaching the chosen language itself. Another notable career many language graduates can try is interpretation and translation. 

While these are the most common career options for language degree holders, there are still other career paths waiting for those studying languages. The industries that welcome foreign language graduates are PR, the media, finance, tourism, banking, or consulting. You can also work internationally with a charity or be a part of an international trading business. Because of the communication skills you acquire during college, it’s easy for you to apply these in-demand skills across so many sectors. 

RELATED: The 18 Best Reasons To Major In Foreign Language

Is Online Language Learning a Good Idea?

As nearly everything is now possible because of the Internet, people are learning online. But can you learn a foreign language via the Internet? From the time technology was introduced until today, life has been very convenient. Because of the Internet, everybody can do practically anything that used to be unimaginable back then. 

At present, people are more engaged in virtual learning programs and online classes. This eventually gave way to the birth of new electronic devices, software programs, and websites devoted to online teaching, including foreign language courses. However, some students are still skeptical about online learning because they feel more comfortable going to school and studying face-to-face with their professors. 

If you’re one of those hundreds of students who believe an online college class for a foreign language is not a wise move, here are some advantages that will make you feel otherwise.

Online Classes Have a Huge Variety of Languages, Courses, and Teachers. Regardless of the foreign language course, you plan on getting. You can always find a language learning program online. From learning Korean to having Bahasa Indonesian lessons, your options online are practically endless. While the regular on-campus language classes will allow you to enroll in a different program in various tongues, this option is not available everywhere. At some point, you will have to travel away from home to learn your language of choice. Sometimes, your only choice is e-learning. 

It’s not like you can find the best educational institutions, with the best instructors, with suitable courses at the same time. With online language learning, you have the option to choose the programs you want, and you can go for the teachers that you think can help you achieve your goals. As an e-learner, you can simply choose and change whatever you believe suits you. 

Location. Remember those times when you had to travel halfway around the world just to learn something extensively? Today, this is no longer the case. The Internet has made everybody’s life easier and more comfortable. Enrolling in a foreign language course online means you can learn something even if no teachers in that field are available in your area. You don’t have to think about balancing your time since you can just study at your own pace. 

Back then, some students have to travel overseas to enroll in an intensive course, which would mean additional expenses. But with an online learning course, you can study anywhere without shelling out an extra budget on moving elsewhere. 

You can learn less taught and even uncommon languages. Have you got plans to know one of the many Scandinavian languages? Or maybe you plan to relocate to France, and you need to learn French. It’s difficult to find French language institutes in most countries. Thankfully, you can find them online. Thus, no matter your location, no matter the language of your choice is, several online platforms will help you achieve that goal. 

Online Classes are Budget Friendly. You can save a lot of money if you prefer to go for e-learning. All you need is a laptop or a smartphone, a reliable internet connection, some language software or apps, decent headphone, and a camera, things that almost everyone is using these days. While online courses charge a minimal amount, you can find free online college classes for foreign languages that won’t require you to incur expenses. Some materials are even offered for free. 

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Online Classes are Efficient. A full-fledged learning management system to an online class, coupled with software and apps like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and the likes, can lead to effective learning. Without a doubt, technology has changed the way people study and learn a new language. In most cases, students are hesitant to speak in front of their classmates in the classroom. But with an online setting, you can simply have individual sessions, making you more comfortable and convincing and expressing a new language correctly and confidently. 

There is also so much free and paid multimedia content designed especially for online learning settings. These include presentations, PDFs, one-to-one interaction with your trainer (video or audio), grammar tasks, messaging, auto-correction, translation features, and so many more. 

The Top 11 Free Online College Classes for Foreign Language in 2022

Now that we have understood the benefits and convenience of learning a foreign language online, it’s time to check out these 12 free online college classes for this field. 

Italian Language and Culture: Beginner (Wellesley College via edX)

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In this free online class, you will learn the basic skills of Italian culture: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Once you complete this 12-week session, you will know how to describe events, people, and situations for both the past and present. You will have a great vocabulary to communicate about daily conditions effectively. 

The course has several tools that will teach you Italian in so many ways. This includes:

  • Situational Videos. Called Ciak or ‘clapperboard’ in Italian, here you will follow eight Italian students and learn about their daily lives and how they interact on campus. This is a fun and informative way of learning authentic conversational Italian.
  • Short video lessons. This will feel like you are in a real classroom. You will learn new topics with the professor’s direct guidance. 
  • Grammar charts. Whether the charts have or have not audio files, you can review and hone your Italian grammar skills via clear and downloadable PDF files. Practicing enunciation and pronunciation has never been this easy, thanks to the embedded audio files. 
  • Downloadable Podcasts. If you want, you can take part in each Ciak video and practice your Italian skills wherever and whenever you want, thanks to the many downloadable podcasts available. 
  • Video Interviews. You can learn a lot by listening to and watching Italian native speakers discuss the many aspects of Italian culture.
  • Discussion boards. Here is your chance to test your Italian skills. Thru discussion boards, you can communicate with your co-students in Italian on a variety of suggested topics. 

This course also integrates Italian culture. Through the readings and interviews, you will learn about:

  • Significant differences between American and Italian universities;
  • Italian cuisine;
  • Summer vacations in Italy;
  • Daily life in some towns in Northern Italy

Best Features:

  • 100% free and online
  • The course is self-paced and runs for 12 weeks, and only needs 2-5 hours per week
  • Classes are free
  • Verified certificate available for $49
  • Delivered via edX
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Spanish Vocabulary Project (Spanish for Beginners) (The University of California, Davis via Coursera)

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UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education host this free online course via Coursera. The Spanish for Beginners courses consist of pre-recorded videos, peer-reviewed and auto-graded tasks, and community discussion forums. It is self-paced and made to help you become adept at speaking Spanish.

Today, Spanish comes second to Mandarin as the most spoken language in the world. This specialization program is suitable for beginners who have little to no experience studying a second language. Still, it wishes to read, speak, write, and communicate Spanish whether for business, travel, or personal use. The exciting approach of this course will allow you to gain sets of vocabularies that will eventually form your foundation for a broader understanding of Spanish. 

You will start with the basics, like grammar and pronunciation, and common expressions. You then slowly work towards making a functional Spanish vocabulary of roughly 1500 Spanish words that are commonly used. The program has four courses. It progressively builds on your learned skills and ends in a project that will test your language and knowledge skills. 

Best Features:

  • 100% free and online
  • The course is free, and there are also low-cost options available
  • Verified Certificates available
  • Handled by Robert Blake, a well-respected Spanish linguistics professor at US Davis. He is also the director of the Davis Language Center. 
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Blended Language Learning: Design and Practice for Teachers (University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera )

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This free online course offered by the University of Colorado Boulder, and delivered via Coursera, is designed for language teachers who want to learn more about building and teaching a blended language course. Upon completion, you can receive 1.5 GRTE (Graduate Teacher Education Credits). 

The program is divided into four parts. In the first module, you will discuss the efficiency and origins of the blending learning model. The second module is where you will look at considerations on a course level, like how to pick the ideal blended format or how you can correctly build a syllabus designed for a blended course.

In the third part, you will focus more on the unit level. This is where you will start planning a blended unit and present this content, coupled with the right strategies of blended assessments and activities. Finally, in the final module, bring your attention to the teaching part of your combined learning experience. By the end of the program, you can opt to practice what you learned through a peer-revied assignment, although this is just optional. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Ideal for those with some background in teaching already
  • Certificates available
  • Taught by Edwige Simon, Faculty Director of the Language Teaching with Technology Graduate Certificate
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Spanish for Bilingual Student (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

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Students coming from diverse backgrounds get to participate in designed group activities that tackle how they can reflect on the assumptions and values related to their cultural and linguistic heritage. This free online foreign language class lets you see films that deal with Cubans, Mexican Americans, Columbians, and Puerto Ricans. Part of the program is a team project that students entirely undertake. This program has one of two options. First, you can make a class website discussing history, politics, arts, music, or literature. The other alternative is conducting interviews with Latino immigrants based in Boston or with MIT students from Spanish-speaking countries.   

This free online course is primarily designed for intermediate heritage learners. However, students interested in particular content areas, like Latino identity, immigration, education, ethnicity, and media representation, may also join the class. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • The program is for intermediate students, although newbies are welcomed.
  • Certificates available
  • Taught by Douglas Morgenstern
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Introduction to French Culture (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

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This free online course studies the major political and social trends, debates, events, and personalities that have helped specific characteristics in contemporary French culture through films, essays, television, or news articles—all from a historical perspective. 

Topics of this program include the consequences and growth of colonialism, heritage of the French Revolution, the impacts of the Occupation, the role of the intellectuals during public debates, social structures, and modernization of an economy. There is also a part where you study the meanings and sources of French national symbols, myths, monuments, and manifestoes. 

Best Features:

  • Ideal for students who have plans to study abroad in the future
  • You only spend 90 minutes per class (twice a week), and you can complete the program in 26 sessions. 
  • Taught by Professor Catherin Clark 
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Tricky American English Pronunciation (The University of California, Irvine via Coursera)

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This free online course will teach you the sounds of American English that are sometimes confusing to produce. You will be undertaking a lot of practice readings for both vowel and consonant sounds. In this program, you are also taught how to stress the right syllable for an English word, how you should make your intonations in a natural-sounding melody, and the proper way of naturally connecting words and sounds. By learning all these basic but tricky techniques, you can speak English clearly and guarantee that others will understand what you are saying. 

Suppose you are one of those hundreds of online English language learners who wish to improve your American English pronunciation so you can communicate better. In that case, this course is perfect for you. However, take note that while your handouts and lectures are provided for free on the platform, the graded quizzes and assignments are only available for the paid version of this course. 

Best Features:

  • The course is only 18 hours long
  • Suitable for beginners and advanced learners
  • Paid versions application only if you want to have graded quizzes and assignments
  • Verified Certifications available (paid)
  • Taught by Tamy Chapman, International Program Instructor, Marla Yoshida, Academic Coordinator for International Programs, and Brad Gilpin—all professors from the University of California, Irvine
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Teach English Now: Theories of Second Language Acquisition (Arizona State University via Coursera)

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You will be introduced to foreign or second language practices and theories for speaking, teaching and assessing listening, and pronunciation in this free online program. Your instructors will also introduce you to the basics of language acquisition and its pedagogical implications. 

You can apply this course to different Professional or Specializations programs. When you complete this course, this will count on your learning in any of these two programs: TESOL Certificate 1 Part 1: Teach English Now! Specialization, and Arizona State University TESOL Professional Certificate. 

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Best Features:

  • 100% free and online
  • It only takes 17 hours to complete
  • Shareable Certificate
  • Taught by Arizona State University professors Dr. Shane Dixon, Dr. Justin Shewell, and Jessica Cinco, International Educator of Global Launch

Spanish Vocabulary: Meeting People (University of California Davis via Coursera)

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Taught by Dr. Robert Blake, professor and director of UC Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching (UCCLLT), this course is offered online and is 100% free. The program is an entry-level course that takes you to the first steps in knowing the foundations of Spanish pronunciation and grammar. As you go along, you will start to build a decent vocabulary of the most common Spanish expressions and terms. You can talk about your family, friends, and even about yourself in the present tense. You start to explore the very diverse cultural context of the Spanish-speaking world via interactive activities and videos. You can also learn thru reading, speaking, and writing. 

Best Features:

  • 100% free and online
  • Shareable certificate
  • Course readings and videos
  • Practice quizzes
  • Graded assignments with peer feedbacks
  • Graded programming assignments
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Speak English Professionally: In-Person, Online, and on the Phone (Georgia Institute of Technology)

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This free online course is designed to help you enhance your professional English speaking skills, especially if you’re a non-native English speaker. The system will let you explore how to clarify, agree or disagree, restate, and summarize certain situations. You will learn and practice specialized statements and vocabulary for use in presentations, discussions, and interviews. 

This 5-week course will teach you how to pinpoint and create a solid personal introduction. Your speaking skills are further developed and demonstrated in group discussions. By the time you complete the course, you will:

  • Improve your English fluency and pronunciation
  • Change how you communicate English
  • Boost your English vocabulary
  • Identify how culture can influence one’s speech
  • Exude the best body language for various cultural settings

Best Features:

  • 100% free and online via Coursera
  • Shareable certificates
  • Graded quizzes
  • Self-paced learning options
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Croeso: Beginners’ Welsh (The Open University)

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Croeso: Beginners’ Welsh is a free beginners’ language program that focuses on Welsh as the means for communication. The program also aims at providing you some insights into the Welsh cultures and societies via audio and printed materials. This is particularly interesting if you wish to improve your Welsh language skills to communicate efficiently in Welsh. 

The free online program focuses on the basic Welsh introductions and greetings and other essential ‘things’ like numbers or the days of the week. After the course, you will have better confidence in speaking in Welsh, and you can somehow understand the language used by native speakers from the different parts of Wales. All in all, you will develop four considerable skills from this course: speaking, reading, writing, and listening to Welsh. 

By the time you complete this course, you will be able to:

  • Introduce yourself and greet people in Welsh
  • Understand numbers and days of the week in Welsh
  • Exchange basic information

Best Feature:

  • You will receive a free statement of participation after you complete the course
  • The course is downloadable in different formats: word, PDF, Epub2, Kindle, etc.
  • It only takes 4 hours to complete the course. 
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Beginners’ German: Places and People (The Open University )

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If you want to learn the basics of the German language, then this free online course from the Open University is your best option. This program will take you on an exciting journey through most German-speaking countries. You will hear and read about the many ranges of people and places, plus you will have the chance to develop practical language skills that can help you cope with different situations. 

After you complete this short 5-hour course, you will be able to:

  • Show fundamental knowledge of the singular forms of verbs and personal pronouns, as well as generalizations using man
  • Use better pronunciation and vocabulary related to numbers, names, and countries. 
  • Understand the cultures of people and places in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and other German-speaking minorities
  • Imitate German enunciation, address people and read basic German

Best Features:

  • This is an introductory course, making it suitable for beginners and basic German knowledge but still wants to hone it.
  • The study only takes five short hours to complete
  • You can download the system either in word, Kindle, Epub 2, or PDF formats

If you plan on learning and mastering another language, the best way is to enroll for a foreign language degree. You can start taking free online courses to find out whether you have a passion for learning a new foreign language.