As long as schools like Columbia champion the “sink-or-swim” school of language instruction, you will inevitably come into contact with, whether in fulfilling your requirement or just being intellectually curious, the Language Professor Who Does Not Speak English. This professor can exist in any language department. The idea of this professor is that you are supposed to appreciate him/her over time, but usually, at least while you are still in Elementary I, he/she will be the source of continued frustration that you will not experience again until you actually make it abroad (if you ever do make it abroad). What this professors will lack in bilingualism, however, he/she will generally make up in authentic cultural knowledge, due to the generally recent move from his/her country of origin.

You will probably at some point resent this teacher until you remember that one of your Elementary I classmates is planning to move to the country of said language and teach English there as soon as the semester is over, at which point you will feel like a hypocrite.

Conversely, this professor may speak limited amounts of a strange and original hybrid of English with his/her native language.

Text by Hannah Goldstein, illustration by Chloe Gogo