Courses & Programs

Language Studies

The Department of Language Studies offers courses through the second year college level in English as a Second Language, French, and Spanish.

First-year students acquire proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing the language of their choice. Second year students continue building language proficiency while being introduced to the culture and more specialized topics in history, culture, and literature of the countries where the language is spoken. 

A group of students laughing together

The English as a Second Language (ESL) program offers four levels of academic ESL for students who are working toward an associate degree or certificate at HCC. Courses are offered in English reading and writing, pronunciation, grammar, speaking, and listening. ESL credits may be used as elective credit for graduation in some programs of study.

An intensive Learning Community combining ENG 101 (required College Composition I) and ESL 151 (Advanced Reading & Writing) is offered for select advanced students. 

HCC offers a comprehensive ESL curriculum in a supportive environment. Free tutoring services are available with or without appointment. Supplemental instruction is provided in reading and writing classes.

This is an academic, credit-bearing ESL curriculum and is not appropriate for basic literacy. Students who want information about our non-credit course offerings may call 413.552.2990 for more information.

HCC is committed to respecting individual cultural and linguistic diversity, and to providing equal access and opportunity for all prospective students. 

Placement in ESL courses is determined through the assessment process. Please call Gladys Montero at 413.552.2553 for more information.

Holyoke Community College's mission underscores the goal of educating global citizens equipped to thrive in diverse cultural contexts. The Foreign Languages Department takes up this challenge and makes it the philosophical core of its programs.

Our department is a nurturing and stimulating place to grow intellectually, and discover the significant opportunities in Hispanic and Francophone Language Studies to make possible your professional advancement. Students can choose from a variety of courses to satisfy elective and program requirements in the Liberal Arts & Sciences AA option as well as other programs. Students who are seeking to transfer to a four-year institution that has a foreign language requirement, such as UMass Amherst, should consider starting their coursework at HCC. Because our Spanish and French courses are taught by expert educators, students can take advantage of our department's high quality of instruction and more affordable tuition and fees.  


To understand how the world is changing all around us: You should learn a foreign language to be able to speak with the people all over the world , to do business overseas and in the U.S., to read Cervantes and Voltaire and Goethe, to sing with Juanes and dance with Celia Cruz, to chat with your neighbors, to be a citizen of the 21st century.  

To thrive in a global economy: In today's global environment, the knowledge of other languages and cultures is an absolute necessity. In Western Massachusetts, for example, Spanish has become an essential language in the business, legal, and medical communities, and the demand for bilingual Spanish-English speakers is ever-increasing in both the local and global economy. There has been a French-speaking community in the Holyoke area for over a century, and this region's ties to the Québec province for both business and pleasure have never been stronger.

To keep your mind young and agile: Studies have proven that there are multiple cognitive advantages to learning a foreign language. You can become a better overall student and even advance your English skills by mastering another language.

To open doors in your academic and professional future: The Foreign Languages department offers an array of courses to choose from: basic language, heritage language learners, advanced courses on literatures and cultures, and specialized courses for different professions. The study of foreign language will open many doors for you in your academic and professional future. Join us!

When I came here, my English was zero. I was unable to communicate with anyone in English. Thanks to Holyoke Community College's ESL program, I am the woman that I am today."

Deydamia Rodríguez