In a foreign country without a language to speak

Daniel Perelstein

When I stepped off the plane in Mexico, I did not know a single word of Spanish. I guess it didn’t really hit me until the customs official at the airport started yelling at me, and I became a deer stuck in headlights. Soon the shock faded and before I knew it, I was actually learning something. With the right teachers, friends, and host family, learning another language can be a life changing experience, not just another class.Multi-disciplinary learning is all the rage. Learning a subject through one medium isn’t good enough any more, there are many different ways to learn something. For me, learning a language from a book in Wisconsin just did not do the trick. I needed different mediums of learning: more specifically, cultural and lingual immersion. I found that traveling abroad and being immersed in a culture was the most effective and efficient way for me to learn a language. It helped me to truly understand and appreciate people of other cultures.

Through International Studies Abroad (ISA), I spent five weeks this summer in Guanajuato, Mexico, living with a host family, eating traditional foods, and immersing myself in the wonderful culture of Mexico. I attended the University of Guanajuato and was taught Spanish in a classroom of six people. Not only was the small class size great, but my two teachers were incredible. They were two of the most caring people I have ever met. By the end of the first week, I was able to take a taxi, order food, and talk with my host family.

It was an incredible experience to learn another language, make friends in another country, and obtain my foreign language credits.

If you would like more information about any ISA program, please contact Dan Perelstein at daniel.h.perelstein@lawrence.edu, or at x7314.

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