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World Languages

The World Languages Program at UWF offers an undergraduate certificate program and minor, as well as studies in various languages.

About World Languages 

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."  - Nelson Mandela

Welcome to the World Languages Program at the University of West Florida!

In order to understand our own cultural heritage and the thought patterns that inform it is to compare them to cultures and languages that are different from our own. By stepping into another cultural space—through language, literature, film and popular culture—we learn to appreciate who we are. We also learn to look at the world from a different perspective and more fully comprehend the range and complexities of human life.

The World Languages Program at UWF is committed to providing students with the opportunity to embark on this exciting journey. From basic classes for beginners of a language to advanced courses in literature, culture, film and civilization, UWF language students engage in meaningful activities as well as in career-enhancing strategies - including learning to communicate in a foreign language, understanding and working within cultural diversity, applying historical background knowledge, negotiating meaning and problem-solving.

In small classes and a student-centered environment, our faculty is committed to enhance students’ linguistic and cultural literacy. 

Course Offerings

The World Languages Program at UWF offers a minor in Spanish, a Certificate in Japanese Language and Culture, as well as courses in French, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. Coursework in the World Languages Program not only equips students with the ability to communicate in a foreign language, but to also understand and operate within our culturally diverse world.


April Kocher

Academic Advisor



Dr. Merry Beth Low

World Languages Coordinator

Why Study?

Here's why you should consider studying one of the languages offered at UWF. 

Speaking French opens the doors to higher education around the world as well as the international job market. 

French, as well as English, is the official working language of many organizations including the UN, UNESCO, NATO, the International Red Cross, and the International Olympic Committee.

Learning French can enhance your English vocabulary as it is our language’s largest donor of foreign words.


Italy is a major political and cultural force in Europe; it is at the heart of Western culture and civilization (i.e. Rome, the Renaissance, Galileo, Michelangelo, Dante Alighieri, Vivaldi, etc.).

Learning Italian is valuable, if not necessary, for research and future study in several fields (i.e. art, music, fashion, business, and sciences).


Japanese is a vital language for international business and is a dominant force in global corporations such as Sony, Honda, and Casio. Japanese is also a crucial language in the U.S. Department of State as Japan holds great influence over East Asia. 

Learning Japanese is a gateway for other Asian languages. 

Japanese popular culture continues to be a source of intrigue and inspiration for Western cultures. 

More than 21 million students study Spanish as a foreign language in
the world. United States, Brazil and France occupy the top positions
in absolute numbers of students of Spanish.

Spanish is the mother tongue of approximately 470 million people in the world.

In the USA, enrollment in Spanish courses exceeds the total number of
students enrolled in courses of other languages.

*Source: El español: una lengua viva, Informe del Instituto Cervantes, 2015.

315x176 Students in Tallahassee Gov
Students receive tools to successfully communicate in a global environment.


Course Catalog

Language Resources 

American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) 
Our faculty is dedicated to following guidelines set forth by the ACTFL in our pedagogical approach and our assessment of oral proficiency.

Ethnologue: Explore Languages of the World
Language Connects Foundation: Why Languages?
Mango: Learn a New Language & Meet A New Culture
HelloTalk App: Practice Your Skills
TalkAbroad: Practice Your Skills


A student in graduation regalia stands next to a sign that says
Giulia Marques Negrão de Almeida, B.A. Political Science and International Studies, 2023

World Languages Student Spotlight

Learning a different language has always been part of my life, from when I was a child learning English at elementary school, to being able to fully understand a movie with no subtitles a few years later. However, what I did not know at the time is that languages open new doors and create paths in life that otherwise would not be possible. Read more, here! 

Giulia Marques Negrão de Almeida, B.A. Political Science and International

World Languages Faculty Bios and Contact


Claire Holderman
Position: Lecturer
  • Department: Government
  • Office Location:  Building 960, Room 273

For more than ten years as a college professor, she has taught courses in Spanish, writing, and college success.

Faculty Headshot
Merry Beth Low
Position: World Languages Coordinator and Instructor of French and Italian
  • Department: Government
  • Office Location:  Building 960, Room 273

Dr. Merry Beth Low, world languages coordinator and instructor of world languages, specializes and holds extensive experience in teaching French and Italian.

Takami Taylor
Position: Lecturer/Japanese
  • Department: Government
  • Office Location:  Building 50, Room 133

Kwimi “Takami” Taylor has been an instructor of Japanese with UWF since 2007. Prior to joining UWF, Taylor was an instructor of Japanese at LaGrange College, LaGrange, GA, and Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA.