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Monday, April 30, 2012

Branch out and Learn: The 2012 WLD Poster

This year's World Languages Day will feature sustainability-themed content courses for French, German and Spanish. The three classes are taught in the target language, and the classes are based on content recently developed for U of M language courses. See Elsie Speaks for more information on the university courses.

The World Languages Day courses are:

  • French: Water Conservation and Ecology taught by Patricia Mougel
  • German: Green Germany taught by Beth Kautz
  • Spanish: Sustainability, Insects and Spanish taught by Frances Matos-Schultz

These classes will give high school students an opportunity to participate in a science-based content course taught in a second language.

These courses are highlighted on our 2012 poster, designed by Paul Fosaaen, our Multimedia Lab Lead Student, who is graduating at the end of this semester. Congratulations Paul!

In addition to designing the WLD poster, Paul is the artist of Mi Casta Su Casta, a piece hung in the Multimedia Lab.

WLD Poster2012

International Buddy Program - Last Chance to Become a Student Mentor!

Adjusting to a new cultural environment can be exciting and challenging. New international students at the University of Minnesota often have a lot of questions and concerns during their first weeks on campus. The International Buddy Program (IBP) eases the transition, with current undergraduate students helping new international undergraduate students.

Why become a mentor?

  • Be an ambassador to new international students
  • Gain insight on different cultural values and world views
  • Join a globally mind community
  • Build your resume
  • Have FUN and enjoy lots of FREE activities and food!!

Go to the International Student and Scholar Services website at for more information. Trainings begin on May 3 for the IBP mentors.

Congratulations Bethany, Fulbright Scholar!

Bethany Schowengerdt, TandemPlus and World Languages Day Assistant, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant to travel to Rwanda. From January to September 2013, she will serve as a teaching assistant at a university in Rwanda and also do volunteer work.

Bethany is graduating at the end of Spring 2012 with a double-major in Global Studies and French, and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. Her areas of concentration are Africa and the International Political Economy. While an undergraduate at the U of M, Bethany participated in a study abroad program in Senegal, and also served an internship at BestPrep, a non-profit that facilitates guest speaker presentations and an email exchange between high school students and business professionals.

We will always remember Bethany for her friendliness, positive energy, willingness to take on any task, and her commitment to second language education and student support. We wish her the best in her latest international endeavor!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

World Languages Day: Schools Attending the 2012 Event

Registration for World Languages Day is almost complete, and we are pleased to welcome the following high schools to the event on May 15: Apple Valley, Austin, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Creative Arts, Floodwood, Melrose, Pine Island, Robbinsdale Cooper, Moose Lake, Prior Lake, South, St. Louis Park, Waconia and White Bear North.

Most students coming to the event study French, German or Spanish. There are also a few ESL, Hebrew and Japanese students expected, and some students are currently in advanced-placement or immersion programs.

Over 1000 students will be on campus for the event. You can see a list of classes at worldlang.cla.umn.edu.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

TandemPlus Class-to-Class Exchanges in the Minnesota Daily

One of the missions of the Language Center's TandemPlus program is to support instructors in the establishment and management of class-to-class exchanges involving Skype. Courtney Johnson, a student in Trina Whitaker's hybrid French 1004 class, wrote a very insightful op-ed piece in the Minnesota Daily last week about her Skype exchanges with her partner in Troyes, France. Courtney described this as "a task that was hard for me to get outside of my comfort zone for, but it has been well worth it." She also said that "this interactive opportunity has opened the door to an entirely new way of learning about culture." We are thrilled to hear great stories like these.

Instructors: if you would like to arrange a class-to-class exchange with a school overseas, contact TandemPlus at tandem@umn.edu.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anna Kaminski Wins Inna Meiman Human Rights Award

On Friday, April 20, LC student staffer Anna Kaminski was presented with the second annual Inna Meiman human rights award from the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota in recognition for her outstanding human rights work. Kaminski, a junior majoring in Art, Global Studies and Social Justice, has been a tireless advocate of human rights, working abroad in 2011 with the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project in Najaf, Iraq and domestically in 2011-2012 on the HeART show in Minneapolis.

Anna has been working at the Language Center for two years. Currently she is the TandemPlus assistant, but true to her generous and helpful nature, she also assists in the Main Office and Multimedia Lab.

Congratulations, Anna!

Monday, April 9, 2012

World Languages Day: Registration Opens!

Student registration for World Languages Day 2012 opened on Monday, April 9. Students from a variety of schools have started registering. So far, the most in-demand classes include perennial favorites like: Origami: The Japanese Art of Paper Folding, Survival Finnish, Les Délices de France and Introduction to Italian, as well as new classes like Afro-Caribbean Music, A Short and Fun Trip to China and Dancing with Differences (offered by ISSS).

You can check out the class list at the WLD website.

TandemPlus: Mocktail Event

On Friday, April 20, TandemPlus will host its final get-together of the academic year. The Mocktail Happy Hour will take place from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. at the Tea House restaurant on 2425 University Avenue SE, Minneapolis. Everyone who registered for TandemPlus this semester is invited for an afternoon of fun, food, and foreign languages!