Frequently Asked Questions

When do these language sessions start?

The coaching sessions usually begin the second week of the fall and spring semesters and meet for ten consecutive weeks. Please consult the Schedule for the exact dates and meeting times.

I just signed up online and language sessions have already started. Should I wait for a confirmation email?

Try to attend the first session, or within the first three weeks, and attend as regularly as you can to get the best possible learning experience. As of this spring 2013, we will be asking students who have not attended the first five classes to consider themselves withdrawn. Also, if you miss five classes, then you will be dropped from enrollment.

I registered a few weeks ago. Do I need to get a confirmation email, or can I just go to the first meeting?

If you do not receive a confirmation email, you may still attend the class, as long as you show up within the first three session.

Who can participate in the program?

NYU Speaking Freely is aimed primarily at undergraduates, but graduate students, faculty and staff are also welcome. Unfortunately, if you're not currently enrolled or working at NYU, you won't be able to participate.

I don't speak the language. Can I still sign up?

Of course! Speaking Freely is made to give you a taste of a new language. All of our Level 1 sessions are designed for people who don't know a word of the new language, and want to learn something new.

I already speak the language. Can I still sign up?

In most cases, yes. If you've taken a little bit of the language before, you can sign up for Level 2, unless you want to cover the basics again. Six of the languages (Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, and Mandarin) offer Level 3 for those with some proficiency who want to practice conversational skills.

What if I have to miss some of the classes, or arrive late, or leave early?

Speaking Freely is an informal program, but we want our students to get the best possible language learning experience they can -- and regular attendance is the best way to retain what you learn from week to week. Try to attend the first three to five sessions as regularly as possible; if you miss five or more sessions, you will unfortunately be considered as having "dropped" the program. The more sessions you attend, the more you learn. Please be courteous to your Language Coach, and tell him or her if you know about an absence or lateness that is coming up.

How much homework will there be? Will I get a grade?

None and No. Some Speaking Freely Coaches might give you handouts or exercises to take home, but they are never mandatory. No grades are given. You get out of the sessions what you put into them.

How much does it cost?

Zip, Zero, Zilch. It's free!

What will we learn in class?

Lots of different things. In the Level 1 sessions, you'll learn some basic language skills, mostly based on oral communication. Topics covered include travel, food, fashion, money, music, sporting events, etc. If there is a special topic you'd like to learn about, just ask your Language Coach.

In Level 2 sessions, you'll build on your basic knowledge of the language and practice conversing. Topics covered include family, friendships and relationships, customs and traditions, health, leisure activities, etc.

Level 3 sessions are for those with some language proficiency who want to engage in on-going conversation based on topics of interest to those participating.

What languages do you offer? And why don't you offer the one I want to learn?

Check our schedule page to see the offerings, which can change each semester. We offer an array of languages, including Arabic, Cantonese, Czech, French, Greek (Modern), Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. If you don't see a language you'd like to learn, contact us and we'll consider adding it if we can!

We are always looking for suggestions for new languages. If there's a certain language you'd like to learn, email with your suggestion. If there is enough student interest, we will explore the possibility of adding it to the Speaking Freely schedule.

Which level should I take?

If you have no experience in the language at all, take Level 1.

If you've taken Level 1 in the NYU Speaking Freely Program or if you have a little experience learning the language (a semester or less at the college level), take Level 2.

If you've taken more than two years of the language, or have some other proficiency background, take Level 3 (this level gives you the opportunity to practice basic conversational skills).

What's the difference between sections A, B, C, & D?

None. We offer two, three, or even four sections in some of the popular languages to accommodate student interest. All sections cover the same material and are sometimes taught by the same instructor.

Will these classes prepare me to meet the language proficiency level required by CAS and other NYU Schools?

Not unless you are proficient in a language and taking Level 3 (conversational) to refresh your skills.

How many different language sessions can I take?

Take as many as you have time for. But please don't let them get in the way of your regular schoolwork!

Who teaches the sessions?

Speaking Freely recruits native speakers whenever we can; many of these are NYU graduate students or employees with outstanding language and teaching skills. Very often, instructors are pursuing a degree in the language they are teaching.

If you're interested in becoming a Speaking Freely coach, please email

Do I need to purchase a textbook?

No textbooks are required. Any material that you need will be handed out at each session. Just come with an open mind and perhaps a notebook.

How often do the Language sessions meet?

Speaking Freely sessions meet once a week for 75 minutes, for ten weeks each semester.

What if I sign up for the wrong session?

If you mistakenly sign up for the wrong session, just resubmit your registration online with the correct information. You can simply disregard the confirmation email for the session you won't be attending.

What happens if I decide I can't/don't want to take the language session I sign up for?

Simply stop attending. Although as a courtesy to the Language Coach, you should let him or her know of your intention.

Didn't see your question answered here? Feel free to email us at, or come to Room 909 in the Silver Center, 100 Washington Square East.