BB&N has a long tradition of offering its students a wide range of choices of world language courses. These courses teach not only grammar and vocabulary, but they emphasize the significance of communication, literature and culture. And BB&N has long distinguished itself among its peer schools for offering three less commonly taught languages—Chinese, Arabic, and Russian. World language study enables the student to appreciate other cultures and civilizations through the most fundamental means of communication. Emphasis is put on meaningful oral communication: classes are taught in the target languages and students aim to reach oral proficiency by the end of their fourth year, so upper-level classes offer experiential learning through project-based learning units. The department believes that the ability to comprehend a civilization not one's own, be it modern or classical, is invaluable for its humanizing and broadening effects and contributing to students' global competency. Knowledge of languages brings students into contact with new ideas and exposes them to a more expansive view of the world. All languages offer student-led clubs, as well as cultural and linguistic immersion trip and exchanges abroad.
All students must take three full, consecutive years of the same language in the Upper School to fulfill their World Languages graduation requirement. Students must take a language course through Grade 11, completing at least level three of a language.
Students who previously studied a language not offered at BB&N and are new to the school in Grade 11 need to successfully complete two full years of the same language at BB&N. New students repeating Grade 11 must take a language course in Grade 11 and complete at least level three of language at BB&N; alternatively, these students may take and successfully pass a new language for two years.
The Upper School offers six languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. World Languages offer first, second, third, fourth, and fifth year language study. In addition, French, Latin, and Spanish have Honors sections starting in the second and third year, as well as upper-level electives (described below). Chinese has an Honors section starting in the third year. Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish offer Advanced Placement level courses.
Double Language Program
A student who completes seven years or more of language study during Grades 9 – 12 qualifies as a Double Language Student. Only courses taken at BB&N or a previous secondary school (for students new to the School in Grades 10 or 11 only) fulfill the seven-year requirement. Courses taken with Global Online Academy do not fulfill any part of the seven-year requirement.
BB&N Language Scholar Program
A student who completes study in a primary language to the highest level offered (depending on the language); completes study in a secondary language to the third level (III) or the fourth level (IV) for a student who begins in the second level (II) in Grade 9; and earns a B or above for final grades in every year studied) will be recognized as a BB&N Language Scholar. Language Scholars are expected to continue in their Advanced Placement courses through the end of senior year (through Senior Spring Project) and to take the Advanced Placement exam in May. Only courses taken at BB&N or a previous secondary school (for students new to the School in Grades 10 or 11 only) fulfill the requirement for the BB&N Language Scholar Program. Courses taken with Global Online Academy do not fulfill any part of the BB&N Language Scholar requirement.
Global Exchange Ambassador Program
The Global Exchange Ambassador Program seeks to recognize students who commit to and engage deeply in a BB&N World Languages Exchange Program. The Global Exchange Ambassador Program has limited enrollment for students in Spanish, French, and Russian who wish to complete extensive preparation for their respective cultural exchange program and also reflect upon the experience afterwards. To receive the Global Exchange Ambassador designation on the transcript, students must be accepted into the program through an application process (which takes place during the spring prior to the exchange program) and satisfactorily complete all aspects of the program (including attendance on the exchange program, six to eight additional meetings per year, independent research on a topic of the student's choosing, completion of a portfolio, and a final presentation).