Monday, April 23, 2012

Update 6/8/2012:  Students Travel to the Bronx for Spanish Language Immersion Trip

Update 6/8/2012: Photo Gallery of May 2012 trip.

Nine students from Fairmont State University will travel to New York from May 13-19, 2012, with Dr. Julie Sellers for the very first immersion-style experience within the borders of the United States that the university has offered.

“John Dewey put it best when he said that ‘education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.’ By integrating service-learning into hands-on language learning, we equip students to realistically use Spanish and to see their place as world citizens,” said Sellers, Assistant Professor of Spanish and coordinator for the trip.

Once in New York, the students will be living with Spanish-speaking host families, participating in workshops meant to prepare them linguistically and culturally for working with members of the Spanish-speaking community and participating in service work with Spanish speakers.

“The main purposes of the trip are to provide learners with the opportunity to interact with Spanish speakers in the USA and to become civically engaged in a Spanish-speaking community,” Sellers said.

“I am personally very excited. I have never been on any type of service-learning trip before, nor have I been to New York, so for me this will be a great experience,” said Damon Waters, a double-major in Accounting and Spanish.

With the percentage of non-English speaking citizens, or citizens who only speak English as a second language, growing at an exponential rate, skills in a second language are growing ever more vital and in demand in the business world. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Spanish alone has experienced a 211 percent increase in the last three decades—that’s 23.4 million more Spanish speakers in 2007 than in 1980.

This trip is funded in part by a travel grant from FSU, but students will pay their own airfare.

For more information about the service-learning trip or similar opportunities that might occur in the future, contact Dr. Julie Sellers at jsellers2@fairmontstate.edu.