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Language study enhances travel experience

While many seem to slide through foreign language classes or see them as a nuisance, the study of languages may be necessary in order to experience a new culture.

Micaelah Aleman, ’08, spent three weeks in Europe with the travel organization People to People and gained a new outlook on leadership, as well as language. While visiting Greece, Italy and France, she learned a little of each language.

“While on my trip, I had to speak Italian for myself, which forced me to be independant and help my friends,” Aleman said. “Once I put myself out there and tried, I didn’t have to rely on the delegation leader to get around. I also had to be responsible for my money and get along with difficult people.”

Besides motivation for learning a language, a visit to foreign countries can teach life skills and street smarts.

“A long time ago another girl and I counted our money in a public place while on a trip to Cameroon ,” Christina Lumeya, French teacher, said. “We were missionariees in Central African Republic, but we were visiting the neighboring country. I awoke in the middle of the night, with robbers standing over me, demanding my money. I gave it all to them, afraid of their threats and knives.”

Although the police station retrieved the money, that danger taught Lumeya to be discreet about money, and to share a room with her friend for protection.

Travel to Europe and Africa gave Lumeya a new perspective of the world.

“Traveling is a lot of fun,” Lumeya said, “and it can teach you life lessons, and history and politics. When I was a missionary in Africa, the things I saw also upset me, because there was a lot of suffering and poverty in the world that I had never endured. It seemed unfair, and made me grateful.”

Trevor Bodi, ’09, traveled to Mexico with his youth group this summer and, though he knew only a few phrases, Spanish allowed him to reach out to needy children.

“When we were playing with the kids, they taught us a lot of new Spanish words, which helped in class,” Bodi said. “But the best part was that through the few words I knew, I was able to reach out to those needy kids.”

Campus students study French and Spanish to satisfy college requirements, but they are not needed for graduation. However other cultures require all students to learn English.

“I learned English as a child, and although it was hard, I’m so glad I did because it has always helped me,” Bruno Boyere, a manager for the Crystal Hotel in Saint Germain des Pr

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