About Us

The Strategic Language Institute at Florida International University offers non-credit, state-of-the-art, intensive, business language courses in US Government-designated strategic languages. These languages are critical for US national security as well as commercial relations and economic competitiveness. The current demand for proficient speakers of these languages greatly exceeds the number of bilingual speakers available. The Strategic Language Institute offers a unique opportunity to develop professional language skills that are in great demand throughout the US employment market.

By participating in an SLI course, you can expect to:

  • Develop your professional language skills
  • Improve your career outlook
  • Acquire cross-cultural competency in the target language
  • Experience how to conduct business in the target language
  • Be taught by native speakers
  • Be tested though American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages standards

Instruction is offered in the following languages:

  • Arabic – The official language of more than 20 countries, Arabic is spoken by approximately 300 million people worldwide. Native speakers live primarily in North Africa and the Middle East, but significant minority populations are found throughout the world. There is a great need for speakers of Arabic in the government, consular services, international NGOs, and the private sector.
  • Chinese (Mandarin) – Spoken by more than one billion people worldwide, Chinese is quickly becoming an international language of commerce as the People’s Republic of China continues its rapid economic expansion. The language is also spoken in other economic hot spots including, Taiwan, Singapore and the countries of Southeast Asia. The ongoing evolution of US-Chinese diplomatic and economic relations ensures that Chinese will remain in great demand in both the public and private sectors.
  • Persian – Persian is a widely spoken language of the Middle East and Central Asia. It is the official language of Iran (where it is known as Farsi) and Tajikistan (where it is known as Tajik) and an important language spoken in Afghanistan (where it is known as Dari). There are 62 million speakers worldwide, with another 50 million people who speak it as a second language. Iran and the neighboring countries of Central Asia are of great strategic importance to the US. The need to improve relations with Iran drives a growing demand for proficient speakers of Persian.
  • Portuguese – The official language of Portugal, Brazil and several countries in Africa, Portuguese is spoken by nearly 200 million people worldwide. It is the third most widely spoken language in the Western Hemisphere and the single most widely spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere. Brazil has one of the largest economies in the world and Portuguese is quickly becoming an important language of world commerce. The economic relations between the US and Brazil are strong and growing rapidly. As a result, the Portuguese proficiency is highly sought after throughout the US employment market.
  • Russian – The official language of Russia, Russian is spoken throughout Central Asia and Eastern Europe. More than 150 million people speak Russian as a first language, with an additional 100 million people speaking it as a second language. Despite the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia remains an important world power with a rapidly expanding economy and the ability to project itself in the world both economically and diplomatically. Commercial relations between the US and Russia continue to grow, creating opportunities throughout the public and private sectors for people with Russian language proficiency.
  • Spanish – A Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain, it is spoken as a native language by an estimated more than 472 million people worldwide, making it the world's second most widely spoken native language after Mandarin Chinese. Spanish is the official or national language in Spain, Equatorial Guinea, and 19 countries in the Americas. In the European Union, Spanish is the mother tongue of 8% of the population, with an additional 7% speaking it as a second language; it is the also the most popular second language learned in the United States. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. It is also used as an official language by the European Union, the Organization of American States, the Union of South American Nations, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and by many other international organizations.

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