DU Students Relish the Opportunity to Learn a New Language at Home and Abroad
Junior returnees andSophomores who arecontemplating studying abroadthe following year are invited tothe annual Global Gala tocelebrate the experience ofliving overseas.Students come back excitedabout travel!Dr. Victor CastellaniChair of the Department ofLanguages and LiteraturesOne of the factors that colorsthe students’ experience abroadmost vividly is the language theycommunicate in daily, which isoftentimes not English.
Members of the DU TangoClub perform at the GlobalGala.Language is a way forstudents to connect moreintimately with a culture.Students want to understand their environment, and they can’tdo that if they can’t communicate. Otherwise, you’re a tourist.Dr. M. Kathleen MahnkeDirector of the Center for World Languages & Culture
While a small number ofstudents are enrolled in theChinese language program atDU, it is required that allChinese minors study abroadin China.In fact, Castellani says thatnearly 100% of studentsstudying Chinese at DU dostudy abroad in China.He would like to see a similarrequirement transfer over tothe other language programsin the Department. Students watch a performance of traditional Chinese drums at the Global Gala.
Tory Rust, a Communications Major who manages her own photography company on the side, studied Spanish in Madrid. Now back in Denver, she wants to learn French. She believes this new language will help her break into the fashion industry as a professional photographer. Guests at the Global Gala view photographs taken by DU students abroad.
About 10 percent ofstudents choose to study abroad in countrieswhere the local language is not taught at DU, like Botswana.
Lauren, a Junior at DU, looks atthe Study Abroad board in theDelta Zeta house, which marksthe spots across the globewhere members chose to studyabroad in the 2012-2013academic year.According to a surveyconducted by the Office ofInternational Education duringFall Quarter of 2012, 48percent of students mentionlanguage acquisition as a veryimportant reason for choosingto study abroad.
Ali, a Junior, studiedabroad in Sevilla, Spain.She took Spanish classesevery quarter leading upto her time in Sevilla. “I can’t stress enough how important it is that students have this foundation before going abroad,” says Mahnke. According to Castellani, “We don’t like to send our students abroad without a foundation of two years of college-level study,” like Ali.
Shawna, who studied in Valparaiso, Chile, skypes withher friend, Simón, a local Chilean she met while abroad. Students like Shawna continue to find value in the language they study abroad as they maintain the friendships they developed overseas once they return home.
The Center for World Languages and Cultures provides supplementalinstruction beyond the traditional language classes offered by the Departmentof Languages and Literatures.
Free one-on-one languageinstruction is available to DUstudents and the widercommunity from Monday toFriday at the CWLC.The CWLC sees morestudents visiting its languagetutors (offered in Spanish,French, Arabic, Japanese,Chinese, Italian, Russian, andGerman) in the month ofJanuary than during FallQuarter.Mahnke attributes thisinterest to study abroadreturnees eager to keep upwith the language they’veacquired.
If students ask, we make it happen.MahnkeDirector of CWLCThe CWLC is keen to hearfrom students wanting tolearn less commonly taughtlanguages. If at least 10students express interest inlearning a language, then theCWLC will begin work ondeveloping a program for itsinstruction.
Each quarter, the Office of Internationalization organizes the Pioneer Partnership Program. Domestic students are paired up with international students studying at DU. This way, DU students can experience study abroad from both perspectives, and help someone who is developing their English language skills in our own backyard.
Step 3 2Step DU students can also learn a new language independently through one of the several language-learning programs available on Step 1 Penrose Library’s online database.