Foreign language placement?

usafagirl99

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
12
Hi.
I know the first year we have to take a foreign language. Like most, I would ideally want to be placed in easy languages like spanish or German. However, I would have a very hard time in Arabic or Chinese. I do know how to pronounce Russian words and know a couple words as well. Is there any tricks to get into the easiest languages, and if not how can I get into Russian?
Thanks!
 

Capri120

Parent
Joined
Feb 10, 2016
Messages
1,239
Spanish is typically filled quickly. German might be a good option, but I don't know that I would say any of them are easy.
 

FalconsRock

Parent
5-Year Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2015
Messages
793
It is possible to change your assigned language. My DD was assigned Russian and requested to change to Japanese, which was granted. I'm not saying that it will happen, but if you don't ask, it most certainly won't. Good luck and congrats on your appointment.
 

rkv

Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2015
Messages
123
USFAGIRL99, I think it may be hard to predict or game the language selection process. My DS had academic experience in multiple languages. He wanted to continue in developing his skills in his weakest language, Russian. However, USAFA decided he should take French his strongest language and placed him in French 365 and 495 for his first year. They did offer to allow him to take Russian if he elected to become a Foreign Area Studies major. In his case this was an early lesson in the oft repeated phrase "the needs of the Air Force...". Based on our limited experience it would seem that one can not readily predict what USAFA will select for you. However, if one chooses a language oriented major then you can gain more say in the matter. In any event, good luck.
 
Joined
May 8, 2017
Messages
102
USFAGIRL99, I think it may be hard to predict or game the language selection process. My DS had academic experience in multiple languages. He wanted to continue in developing his skills in his weakest language, Russian. However, USAFA decided he should take French his strongest language and placed him in French 365 and 495 for his first year. They did offer to allow him to take Russian if he elected to become a Foreign Area Studies major. In his case this was an early lesson in the oft repeated phrase "the needs of the Air Force...". Based on our limited experience it would seem that one can not readily predict what USAFA will select for you. However, if one chooses a language oriented major then you can gain more say in the matter. In any event, good luck.


Can you get a pilot slot as a foreign area studies major? Or do you have to be/preferred in a tech major? Thanks!
 

Hoodlum15

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
278
You'll take a placement test in your best language upon entering the Academy. If you do really well, you will validate the language. Otherwise, you put a list of preferences of languages, and you are required to put down at least one strategic language (Russian, Arabic, Japanese, etc.) If you do pretty well on the placement test but don't validate, they will most likely place you into that language (i.e. the best non-validating Spanish speakers get put in Spanish). Otherwise, it's a weird luck of the draw. It's partially based on your preferences and partially hased on your academic composite, which predicts how well you'll do at the Academy. If your academic composite is high, you're more likely to get a strategic language. If you put a strategic language as your first choice, you're more likely to get it.
 

FMHS-79

Parent
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Messages
951
My DS's last foreign language in high school was French 3 during his junior year - he was very pleasantly surprised that his placement scores were strong enough to allow him to validate both semesters of the 4C foreign language requirement. I would try to validate in your strongest language and then see what options surface after your validation tests are assessed. Not sure if it matters, but he is currently planning on a tech major (AstroE).
 
Joined
May 8, 2017
Messages
102
My daughter is in High school and has been in foreign language school since pre-K. She is fluent reading, writing and speaking German and French. What would they do in her case? Put her in Russian or Arabic most likely?
 

Humey

Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
1,509
Spanish will be the easiest language as it very similar to English. I have to imagine you took a language in high school, so the easiest would be the language you have previously learned. Having said that, I would assume that learning Arabic, Chinese and Russian could give you some advantages once you start your career
 

2021mom

Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2017
Messages
103
My DS was initially assigned Chinese but was able to switch to Russian. So it is possible. Btw, he seems to really like his Russian class.
 

rkv

Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2015
Messages
123
... She is fluent reading, writing and speaking German and French. What would they do in her case? Put her in Russian or Arabic most likely?
USAFA has a Cadet Semester Exchange Abroad Program (CSEAP) which includes the German and French military academies. So depending on USAFA’s needs she could be encouraged to continue in German or French.
 
Joined
May 8, 2017
Messages
102
... She is fluent reading, writing and speaking German and French. What would they do in her case? Put her in Russian or Arabic most likely?
USAFA has a Cadet Semester Exchange Abroad Program (CSEAP) which includes the German and French military academies. So depending on USAFA’s needs she could be encouraged to continue in German or French.


O ok thank you! It seemed after reading other posts on this thread that if you were already fully fluent in say two non strategic languages like she is then they would make you take another (Strategic) language like Russian , Arabic or Chinese. Looks like there are many opportunities at the academy if you are multi-lingual. Thanks again for that info about the exchange programs at the German and French academies!
 
Last edited:

Stealth_81

Super Moderator
10-Year Member
Founding Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Messages
3,041
Our son had 5 years of Spanish through HS and validated to level 400 at USAFA. He was not given the choice of another language but instead was given Spanish starting with 400 level classes. He got a minor in Spanish from USAFA with just a few classes. It seems that all kinds of situations can happen with language placement. Son also did a three-week exchange to the Spanish Air Force Academy. Interestingly, so far he has run into two Spanish Air Force officers in his AD career who he met during those three weeks. Connections are always a good thing.

Stealth_81
 

fencersmother

10-Year Member
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2007
Messages
3,203
. She is fluent reading, writing and speaking German and French. What would they do in her case? Put her in Russian or Arabic most likely?
Jeff, your definition of "fluent" may not be the same as USAFA's and it is best not to make assumptions.

My Physics major was relieved to have Spanish as his assigned language and my OR guy was Portuguese, and has now been to Brazil for several months at a time several times. He brought me a Rosary from Fatima when he was in Portugal. Their good friend, a native Spanish-speaker, was assigned Chinese and spent a semester at a Pacific Island country speaking their language.
 
Joined
May 8, 2017
Messages
102
. She is fluent reading, writing and speaking German and French. What would they do in her case? Put her in Russian or Arabic most likely?
Jeff, your definition of "fluent" may not be the same as USAFA's and it is best not to make assumptions.

My Physics major was relieved to have Spanish as his assigned language and my OR guy was Portuguese, and has now been to Brazil for several months at a time several times. He brought me a Rosary from Fatima when he was in Portugal. Their good friend, a native Spanish-speaker, was assigned Chinese and spent a semester at a Pacific Island country speaking their language.

That maybe true about the fluent part according to the USAFA-noted:). They have been attending foreign language academy immersion schools since pre-K in German and French and we always have had foreign exchange students living with us the past 7 years. I was just wondering if she was considered fluent in German and French would the academy put her in another language-just curious. No right or wrong answer-just wondering how it worked most of the time:)
 

fencersmother

10-Year Member
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2007
Messages
3,203
Jeff, it is dependent on the oft-cited: Needs of the Air Force.

We had no idea Portuguese was considered a strategic language, till we realized anew Brazil's aircraft industry and their standing in South America.

Your child will take the placement exams during BCT, they'll determine if she's actually "fluent," and decide what to do with her then. It may be that they'd put her into some related Romance Language (to French), or some other hard to read/pronounce language. No one here can say, though some good guesses are out there.
 

MN-Dad-2016

5-Year Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2012
Messages
597
Hi.
I know the first year we have to take a foreign language. Like most, I would ideally want to be placed in easy languages like spanish or German. However, I would have a very hard time in Arabic or Chinese. I do know how to pronounce Russian words and know a couple words as well. Is there any tricks to get into the easiest languages, and if not how can I get into Russian?
Thanks!
Why would you want the "easiest"? Don't sell yourself short. There are a lot of fantastic opportunities specifically related to foreign languages. Our son minored in Chinese and he loved it. A few years back, he was selected to be the 1st USAFA cadet to stay at the Chinese Academy. He had some fascinating stories. He also went to China for CSLIP as well as a semester in Hong Kong. Price to him: $0.00. USAFA has some world class opportunities.

Furthermore, he plans on taking the proficiency tests which will add income to his pay check every month. http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Disp...-change-for-foreign-language-proficiency-pay/ The rate has been raised to $6K a year for a single language.
 
Top