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Language Academy @ Wofford set for this summer

Program for pre-college students focuses on immersion, cross-cultural education
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Students in the Language Academy @ Wofford participate in interactive presentations at the end of their sessions.
2013-01-08

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Whether they have studied their world language for years or don’t even know how to say “hello,” young students can come study world languages and cultures at the Language Academy @ Wofford College this summer.

  The two-week language immersion residential programs in French, German and Spanish are open to rising 9th-graders through recently graduated high school seniors. Registration is open for the program.

The program, which runs from June 22 through July 6, builds on Wofford’s commitment to creating global citizens with cross-cultural competence who are prepared to succeed in the 21st century, says Belinda P. Walters, director of the Language Academy @ Wofford (or LA@W, for short).

“Our program focuses on providing a caring and supportive language immersion environment while also focusing on culture and cross-cultural awareness,” Walters says. “Students learn the art, the history, the music of the countries where their languages are spoken, and they share those with students of the other languages.”

An honor code encourages students to use only their language of study during the programmed portion of the day, conducting all classes, meals and activities in that language, she says. “Typically, students who conform to the honor code see their ability to conduct conversations on everyday, practical topics increase substantially in just two weeks.”

Students find lots of opportunities to speak and listen with class sizes being kept small, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. “This way, each student receives personal attention,” Walters says. “Studying a foreign language in a safe and controlled immersion environment builds a student’s confidence in his or her language abilities by boosting listening and speaking skills, improving vocabulary, and developing a deeper understanding of grammar. Again, students are exposed to the culture of the areas of the world where the language they are studying is spoken, and of the cultures of the other languages taught at the academy.”

LA@W is building on Wofford’s foundation of preparing its own students for the world. “We continue to face an enormous and important challenge in preparing our nation’s future leaders for a globally connected, competitive and interdependent world,” says Dr. David S. Wood, senior vice president and dean of the college. “Our faculty and staff have committed us to meeting that challenge, and the faculty and staff of the Language Academy @ Wofford have committed to helping build the foundation for these young people who are not yet in college. It’s an important task.”

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, in surveying human resources professionals, noted that “knowledge of foreign languages, cultures and global markets will become increasingly important for future graduates entering the U.S. workforce.” Learning foreign languages was cited by 63 percent of the survey participants as increasing in importance more than any other basic knowledge area or skill.

Since 2008, more than 1,000 Wofford students have studied abroad in 64 countries on all seven continents, and the college ranks fourth nationally in the ratio of students receiving credit for study abroad, according to the Open Doors Study on which Wofford has consistently ranked in the top 10 over the past 15 years. Fifteen percent of the Wofford’s Class of 2011 majored or minored in a foreign language.

“Students participating in the Language Academy @ Wofford will find themselves in an environment that is supportive of their endeavors and committed to helping them succeed,” Walters says.

Cost for the two-week sessions is $2,500. Tuition covers the cost of classes and instructional materials, room and board, activities, field trips, transportation from either Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) or Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP), and the use of laundry facilities.

Discounts are available for multiple children from the same family.

For more information and to register, go to www.wofford.edu/languageacademy/.