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Language Academy @ Wofford opens this summer

Pre-college program focuses on immersion, cross-cultural education
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2012-01-19

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Building on its commitment to creating global citizens with cross-cultural competence who are prepared to succeed in the 21st century, Wofford will offer a residential language immersion program for rising 8th-grade through 12th-grade students beginning this summer.

The Language Academy @ Wofford will offer two- or four-week language immersion programs in French, German and Spanish, and a four-week program in Chinese.  

“Our program will focus on providing a caring and supportive language immersion environment while also focusing on culture and cross-cultural awareness,” says Belinda P. Walters, director of the Language Academy @ Wofford, or LA@W. “Students will learn the art, the history, the music of the countries where their languages are spoken, and they will share those with students of the other languages.”

An honor code will encourage students to use only their language of study during their time at Wofford, conducting all classes, meals and activities in that language, she says. “Typically, students who conform to the pact see their language proficiency increase at a level consistent with a year’s worth of study in just four weeks.”

Students will 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 will be 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 second nationally in the ratio of students receiving credit for study abroad, according to the Open Doors Survey. 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.

Registration for the Language Academy @ Wofford is open now.

Two-week sessions for French, German and Spanish will be held June 17 through June 29 and July 1 through July 13. The four-week programs in those languages and Chinese will be held June 17 through July 13.

Cost for the two-week sessions is $2,500; cost for the four-week session is $4,500. 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.

Families with more than one student attending a four-week session will receive a $100 discount per student, and those with more than one student attending a two-week session will receive a $50 discount per student.

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