May 032012
Authors: Kate Winkle

For some CSU students, summertime can mean an opportunity to work on increasing knowledge instead of working a summer job.

CSU’s summer session of classes allows students to pick up a few extra credits during intensive four-week courses, including those for a variety of languages, according to Paola Malpezzi Price, the chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

“I decided to do a minor later in my college career than I should have,” said Grace Dea, a junior English education major. “I was short on credits and liked the idea of taking a Spanish film class not offered next semester. It gives the opportunity to focus more clearly on just Spanish.”

Spanish is one of the most popular languages to take both immersion courses and upper-level courses in, but CSU also offers immersion courses for first year Arabic, according to Malpezzi Price. With two summer sessions, students can get credit for one year’s worth of languages and move up to second year studying in the fall.

“Usually students who take courses in the summer focus on the subject, and it’s not as dispersive as during the academic year. By focusing and concentrating they dedicate a lot of time to the language and it makes absorbance of vocabulary especially, and grammar structure, more in-depth,” Price said.

Besides providing a baseline classroom experience, immersion summer language courses allow students to have a little extra practice with the language through hands-on experiences and field trips, according to Mary Vogl, the director of the Language and Cultural Studies Center in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Visits include ordering in the target language in a restaurant, going to a mosque, salsa dancing or cooking.

“The benefit of immersion class is that kind of a similar experience. More concentrated time helps give that intense input,” Vogl said. “All classes are taught in the target language. They’re longer classes and smaller classes.”

Although CSU offers a variety of languages including Chinese, French and American Sign Language during the fall and spring semesters, according to Vogl, hosting those classes during the summer is not cost-effective because they rarely attract enough students to meet minimum enrollment.

“It’s tough — we have to pay teachers, have our own budget and minimum enrollments need to be met,” said Vogl, who added that 10 students are needed to fill a class, although 15 is preferable. “We put in a lot of effort and it’s frustrating when classes don’t make it.”

Enrollment for the first four weeks of the summer session close today, and enrollment for the second four weeks closes at the end of May.

Students whose languages are not offered in the summer at CSU can also look into alternate options for study, including looking for programs at other schools, waiting until the fall, or studying abroad, Vogl said.

“It’s frustrating for students who want a whole year in the summer but CSU only offers one semester, but I understand the constraints the college is under,” she added.

Sarah Glajch, an international studies and French double major, chose to study abroad in France this summer since French classes are not offered.

“Not only are you surrounded by the language (when studying abroad), but the new cultural experiences really enhance your experience, which you can’t get unless you are there…(But) the summer classes allow you to continue learning the language and get yourself to a higher level for the next fall, making it easier for you to take more classes in that language.”

Collegian reporter Kate Winkle can be reached at

Colorado resident undergraduate base tuition for one credit hour: $355.22
Out of state undergraduate base tuition for one credit hour: $1169.12
First four-week session: May 14 to June 8
Second four-week session: June 11 to July 6
Third four-week session: July 9 to Aug. 3
For more information, visit

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