Languages

The Upper School language program encourages understanding of our world’s many interrelated languages and cultures.

Students may enroll in introductory language courses in any year in Upper School, or build upon foundations laid in Middle School by continuing into upper-level courses; graduation requirements should be taken into account. In Chinese and French, students take all courses in their numerical order. In Spanish, students follow the numerical order through Spanish IV and then may take topically focused, advanced courses in any order.

Students continually exercise all four skills of language learning–reading, writing, speaking and listening–and progressively expand their grammatical and lexical knowledge. The curriculum includes opportunity for in-depth exploration of the culture(s), literature, and history associated with the language of study. Students are also encouraged to pursue cultural and linguistic experiences outside the classroom. Incoming skill level and learning needs are carefully considered during the placement process.



Chinese

Chinese I

This introductory course provides students with a firm foundation for further study. The course begins by exploring the language, culture, people, and land of the greater Chinese communities. Students learn the basics of spoken and written Chinese. Students are taught to read both traditional and simplified characters, but may choose to write only the traditional or the simplified ones. Course content focuses on communicating on topics relating to the individual: greetings, and asking and obtaining personal information such as names, ages, and favorite food items.

Chinese I is offered every year. However, the course only runs when sufficient enrollment interest exists.

Chinese II

This course builds upon the foundation established in Chinese I. Course content moves from topics relating to the individual to topics involving everyday life. Students learn to communicate about living functions, negotiate their way around places, interact with people, and express feelings. Print and video resources as well as material available online are used in this course.

Chinese II is offered every year. However, the course only runs when sufficient enrollment interest exists.

Chinese III

This beginner-intermediate course contains an integrated suite of learning materials focused on communication and authentic language used in real-life contexts. Central among these materials is a twenty-episode video series, filmed entirely on location throughout China, that includes a dramatic story line, authentic model dialogues, and segments devoted to special aspects of Chinese culture and history. The course presents a carefully structured and cumulative approach to learning Mandarin Chinese. Students progress step-by-step from listening and speaking to the more challenging skills of reading and writing Chinese characters. The emphasis is on communicative skills, for the primary goal of the program is to foster proficiency in everyday Chinese. Abundant exercises and learning activities are linked to the video episodes, while expanded learning opportunities are provided through self-paced interactive web activities, language games, an online learning community, and much more.

Chinese IV

This intermediate course continues to guide the students in building communication skills to become proficient in everyday Chinese. In addition to the increased complexity of their speaking and listening tasks, students are provided opportunities to develop their reading and writing skills by engaging in a variety of linguistic- related activities. The curriculum reviews narration skills to describe past events, and introduces the word order and some complex sentence structures in Chinese. Students read an assortment of short stories and articles to explore cultures and society. A strong emphasis is on improving their ability to recognize Chinese characters and become more proficient readers in Chinese. Reading strategies are taught and practiced during this course too. Students discuss and write about topics regularly to apply and practice complex grammar structures. This course equips students with Chinese learning strategies that enable them to engage in independent study of the language using online tools and other resources.

Chinese V

This intermediate course builds upon the foundation established in the previous course, and continues to develop skills that enable learners to handle all three modes of communication: interpretive, interpersonal and presentational. The course develops students’ ability in all areas, especially preparing them to read and write in the target language. It contains a mix of ingredients to ensure that the students’ learning experience is continuously intertwined with the “Five Cs” of foreign language learning—communication, culture, connections, comparisons, and communities. In addition to using the language to carry communicative tasks orally, students develop the skills in comprehending and producing written materials, such as trying to decode an advertisement, understand road signs, read a doctor’s prescription or write an email to a teacher asking for a sick leave. The authenticity of all the resources, materials and tools will prepare students for developing language proficiency, preparing them for real life communication.

Chinese VI-VII

This advanced course builds upon the foundation established in the previous course, and continues to develop skills that enable learners to handle all three modes of communication: interpretive, interpersonal and presentational. The course develops students’ ability in all areas, especially preparing them to read and write in the target language. It contains a mix of ingredients to ensure that the students’ learning experience is continuously intertwined with the “Five Cs” of foreign language learning—communication, culture, connections, comparisons, and communities. The course delves into many facets of our culture and society, exposing students to a variety of topics, such as education system, political system and people’s beliefs and point of view. With the help of many carefully crafted activities, students learn to understand different cultures through different lenses. In-depth discussion and writing about a topic will help students express their opinion while they listen to each other. This allows them full participation and commitment to expression in the target language.

Intensive Course

Learn more about our intensives program.

Global Link Taiwan: Photography

First intensive, 10th - 12th grades
This course earns Fine Arts credit.

Travel Taiwan and document the journey through Photography! Through the lens of East Asian culture and language and the study of technical and aesthetic Photography skills, students develop an understanding of the ways photography can become a tool for communication of culture, ideas, and shared experience. Students also practice and strengthen Mandarin-language skills during the travel experience. Traveling to and throughout Taiwan, students partner with schools, universities, and museums, immersing themselves in the culture, and practicing their Mandarin skills. Through their immersion in Taiwanese culture, they learn to connect with the local community, document the trip, and understand how portraits, imagery, and photography contrast and mirror the evolution of the field of Photography in the US.

Prerequisite: Chinese 4

Students enrolled in Global Link first intensive cannot play in the UPrep basketball program.



French

French I

In this introductory course, students progressively develop speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills through a variety of activities purposefully designed to respond to diverse learning styles. The course presents thematic vocabulary, common verb tenses, basic grammar and idiomatic structures. Students practice daily conversational patterns dealing with personal preferences and contemporary life. The cultural material of the course focuses primarily on France, while introducing students to the diversity of the French-speaking world.

French II

French II builds upon the reading, writing and conversational skills gained in French I. Emphasis is placed on increased complexity of oral and written expression. Students often work on project-based learning to develop their oral communication, give oral presentations, and practice extemporaneous speaking, as well as write in paragraph form. Reflexive and object pronouns as well as past and future tenses are explored in depth. Literature is introduced in the form of poetry, including the work of Baudelaire. Among other cultural topics, students explore traditions in Francophone countries and music from around the diaspora.

French III

This intermediate course emphasizes themes of everyday life to reinforce and broaden students’ communication skills, expand vocabulary, teach grammar concepts, and heighten cultural awareness. The theme of Mon monde is studied throughout the year exploring topics around school life, family life, and community in a local and Global scale. The curriculum reviews narration skills to describe past and future events with complex sentence structures along with the combination of the passé composé and imparfait. Students are increasingly able to demonstrate language acquisition in both formal and informal situations. Students read and discuss short stories and articles to explore contemporary life and Francophone cultures.

Students make comparisons and connections between the language, current events as seen through film and media, cultures studied, and their own. In the spring, students read and analyze the movie “the boy who harnessed the wind” in French, le garcon qui dompta le vent.

French IV

This advanced course delves into the many cultures of the Francophone world while building upon the students’ grammar foundation. The cultural element of this course focuses on historical perspective, social justice, and an introduction to journalism from around the diaspora. The curriculum expands upon the grammatical structures from French III and introduces the subjunctive and literary tenses. Students are frequently exposed to authentic audio and video material; they discuss and write about topics in depth to practice complex structures. In the spring, students read and analyze their first unabridged novel in French, Le Petit Prince.

Ma voix: Francophonie, Immigration, Justice Sociale

This course gives students a platform for raising their own voices on local and global social justice issues such as global warming, racism, immigration, hunger, and education. To address these urgent issues in French, students have scaffolded exercises in public speaking and presentation along with a review of grammar and rhetorical structures that allow them to make a formal argument in the target language. The class progresses thematically and includes a variety of activities, including history (connection between the Harlem Renaissance, the fathers of Négritude – Césaire, Senghor, Damas) and the vocabulary, reading, vodcasts and videos of Francophone youth, field trips, guest speakers, and projects. Each theme is first explored in class and then put into practice outside of the classroom. Students also build a sense of engagement in their own community and empathy for other diverse communities through live communication.

Le Français des Affaires

Students pursue French in a professional context and acquire professional and practical skills such as correspondence, curriculum vitae, email, calls, agenda, etc. Upper level students learn how to go through an interview with the proper protocol and etiquette and build their own portfolio. They practice public speaking while delivering a speech, making a presentation, or bringing up convincing arguments in a meeting.

Students introduce themselves to a Francophone business in Seattle through the Consulate, French Alliance, or Chamber of Commerce, in order to shadow a business professional, and report their findings in a formal presentation at the end of the course. Prerequisite: French 4 plus an additional, upper-level French elective



Spanish

Spanish I

This course introduces students to language learning in general, focusing on various verb structures and other grammar points and idiomatic structures while making natural comparisons to their own language. Spanish I students develop study skills and memorization techniques that will enable them to learn vocabulary and grammar points throughout their course of study. Students practice conversations related to making acquaintances, talking about personal preferences, getting around town, and family relations. Additionally, students get the opportunity to improve their interpersonal, interpretive and presentational skills through the reading of two short novels. They study vocabulary related to numbers, expressions of time, food, hobbies and sports. Students learn songs, write and perform short skits, play games, cook traditional dishes, complete a variety of cultural and linguistic projects, and celebrate holidays and customs of the Hispanic world.

Spanish II

Spanish II builds on the writing, speaking, listening, and reading skills established in Spanish I. This course focuses on the use of the preterit and imperfect tenses, as well as on object and reflexive pronouns. Students practice conversation skills by talking about such topics as travel, daily routines, professions, making plans for the future, comparing past and present events, and narrating past actions. Furthermore, students get the opportunity to improve their interpersonal, interpretive and presentational skills through the reading of two short novels. The course provides a broad overview of the variety of cultures and linguistic differences across the Spanish-speaking world, with numerous short readings. In addition, the students work with a variety of media (stories, commercials, music videos, telenovelas, shorts, etc.) to help provide additional opportunities to hear native speakers use vocabulary and grammar in context and to infer meaning from context.

Spanish III

Spanish II builds on the writing, speaking, listening, and reading skills established in Spanish I. This course focuses on the use of the preterit and imperfect tenses, as well as on object and reflexive pronouns. Students practice conversation skills by talking about such topics as travel, daily routines, professions, making plans for the future, comparing past and present events, and narrating past actions. The course provides a broad overview of the variety of cultures and linguistic differences across the Spanish-speaking world, with numerous short readings. In addition, the students work with a variety of media (stories, commercials, music videos, telenovelas, shorts, etc.) to help provide additional opportunities to hear native speakers use vocabulary and grammar in context and to infer meaning from context.

Spanish IV

In this advanced course, students get equal exposure to cultural, communicative and linguistic topics. They view and discuss several films that highlight particular aspects of Hispanic society and history. Students work with authentic sources to conduct research about a variety of topics. Some examples include news articles, poems, and short stories. The grammar portion of the course focuses on pronouns, mood, and tense sequencing, as well as a review of selected topics from previous years. There is a strong emphasis on improving communicative skills through daily conversations, teacher-student and student-student interactions as well as oral presentations in the target language.

Introducción al Análisis de Literatura y Cine del Mundo Hispano

In this advanced Spanish course on literature and film, students are critical readers and writers as well as active viewers. They write cross-cultural comparisons of literary texts and film and compare these with their own experiences; use the works to determine how people identify with specific locations, language, and culture; discuss and interpret the historical context in which the work is set; write and apply literary analysis to a variety of genres within the context of Spanish and Latin American literary traditions; and develop, communicate, and defend a thesis with evidence based on literary texts and film.

Latinx en Los Estados Unidos

Students study a variety of themes such as Latinx leadership in the US, identity, language, art and politics, through the lens of Latinx storytelling. Students practice the art of sharing stories through written, visual, and verbal mediums. The course puts emphasis on communication skills through real-world application. Students practice communicating with native speakers and learn about the local and current history of the Latinx communities in Seattle and in Washington State through field trips and guest speakers.

Intensive Course

Learn more about our intensives program.

Global Link Colombia: Culture and Identity

First intensive
10th - 12th grades

This course alternates between a language and non-language course. This year, the course is open to non-Spanish speakers and does not earn language credit.

Students deepen their understanding of Colombian culture through Global Link’s experiential education model. Would you like to learn about the famous carnaval in Barranquilla and why it is so important to Colombia’s history and contemporary identity? How about living with a host family and exploring the roles that food, music, dance, religion and art play in modern Colombian life? Come to the vibrant and historic city of Barranquilla and deepen your understanding of Colombian culture through field trips and workshops with artists, professionals and students at our partner school, Colegio San José. Students take lessons in basic Spanish, cook Colombian cuisine, visit museums and other historical landmarks, and learn traditional dances. Upon return students share their learning through a dance performance and presentation of projects in the Intensives Showcase.

Students enrolled in Global Link first intensive cannot play in the UPrep basketball program.

Languages at UPrep

Explore our language program:
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Courses aim to equip students with functional and culturally appropriate interpersonal, interpretive and presentation skills for proficient communication.