Oct 022002
Authors: Vince Blaser

Beginning this week, students and community members can learn the basics of one of 12 languages from a native speaker.

The Office of International Programs is now registering interested students and community members for the 2002 Language and Cultural Awareness Program. The program offers non-credit courses in one of 12 languages twice a week for five weeks.

“(The program) familiarizes students with cultures, history and languages of other countries,” said Anna Kruszewska-Achmatowicz, a native of Poland who will be teaching Russian and Polish classes for the program.

Leslie Winfield, a program coordinator for OIP, is coordinating this year’s program.

“I feel so ignorant not knowing another language,” Winfield said. “(The program) is an introduction to a language.”

Classes run from Oct. 7 through Nov. 7 and are held twice a week in the evenings. There are no grades and no tests for any of the classes, which cost is $30 for students, faculty and staff, and $40 for community members. The deadline for registration is Friday.

Janelle VanHouw, a junior interior design major, said the price for students and faculty is reasonable, especially when compared to taking a credited language class from CSU.

Classes are offered in Swedish, Hindi, Sinhalese, Hungarian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, French and Chinese, according to Winfield.

“Some of (the languages) are very unusual,” she said. “Maybe (a class) will spark some interest in study abroad.”

Each one of the classes in the program is taught by an international student who fluently speaks the language he or she is teaching. The goal of each class is to teach the basic conversational aspects of the language, as well as teach the culture.

Kevin Simkiss, a junior speech communications major, said he thinks the idea of international students teaching the classes is a great idea.

“It’s awesome,” Simkiss said. “It gives (the international students) an opportunity to pass some of their culture on to us.”

Kruszewska-Achmatowicz said learning the culture of Russia and Poland in addition to the language is very important for her students who plan on visiting one of the nations.

“The lessons are to give students the cultural information and teach them enough language to feel comfortable and enjoy their potential visit to Russia/Poland to the fullest,” Kruszewska-Achmatowicz said.

One of the reasons the program began in the first place was because students wanted to learn languages from native speakers, said Shawna Barr-Magtutu, a program coordinator for the Office of International Programs. They also wanted to learn the native accents and cultures of different nations, she said.

The Language and Cultural Awareness Program was started sometime in the 1980s, Barr-Magtutu said. She said the program was also started to give international students and professors a leadership role.

“It empowers international students to share their culture through language,” Barr-Magtutu said. “(Teaching) provides a developmental avenue in terms of leadership and teaching.”

Each class must have at least five people register for it or the class will be cancelled, the release said.

For more information or to sign up for classes visit the Office of International Programs in Laurel Hall or call Leslie Winfield at 491-5917.

Edited by Shandra Jordan, Colleen Buhrer and Becky Waddingham

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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