Preparing Boys for Life


Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding Haverford's English curriculum. If you'd like to learn more, please contact Modern and Classical Languages Department Chair Andrew Poolman.

Do any students take two languages?

Yes! In fact typically 8-10% of the student body take two languages. The most typical scenario has a boy in form III continuing at level two the language he began in middle school and adding a second language at level one. The most common choice for a second language is Chinese. Both languages can be taken through form VI.

Are there opportunities to practice speaking the modern languages in authentic settings?

The school organizes travel-study trips for students to a variety of countries every year or every other year. These trips often run during spring break. They include a home stay with a family where only Spanish or Chinese, as the case may be, are spoken.

Read more about our Travel Study programs >

Do the boys take any standardized tests in foreign languages?

The boys are encouraged to take the SAT II subject tests in Latin or Spanish in either level IV* or V*. Support and extra classes are offered by the faculty to prepare the boys for those tests.

Why does Haverford only offer Chinese, Latin and Spanish?

The MCL Department believes strongly in the importance and place of these three languages in the world today. Latin is the base of the Indo-European languages and has provided the source of much of Western culture, art, architecture and intellectual thought. Spanish with its rich literature, art and history in Europe and the Americas is a language spoken by over 400 million people today. Chinese, a language spoken by over 1.2 billion people, offers not only a window into the East but also exposure to a language as different from English as one can be. With characters rather than an alphabet and no tenses for verbs, Chinese pushes the boys to see language as both different and the same. With Latin, Spanish and Chinese, we feel we have intentionally addressed the languages of the past, present and future.