Originally posted March 28, 2015.
The United States is known as the cultural mixing pot of the world; there are many languages spoken in the country. The primary one is English, but many other cultures have still kept their native languages fresh on their tongues.
Knowing more than one language in today’s society is an amazing feat, however, it is not something that comes easy. It takes a lot of work, practice and immersion. Millersville’s foreign language department does their utmost to ensure the students’ successes in the respective languages they are learning. The languages offered for major and minors are Spanish, German, French, Italian and Japanese.
Last Wednesday, Mar. 25, the foreign language department held a meeting and encouraged all people majoring or minoring a language to attend. The meeting was held in the Ford Atrium from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m..
Three language department professors, Dr. Susanne Nimmrichter, the Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages, as well as Professor of German; Dr. Marco Antolin, Associate Professor of Spanish and Dr. Christine Gaudry, Associate Professor of French, were all in attendance. They lightheartedly started off the meeting by talking in their respective languages.
One of the major announcements they made was regarding the SOPI (Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview) tests that all language majors and minors are required to take. Dr. Gaudry explained that unless a student is going to be a future teacher, he needs to take the SOPI test twice to gauge his level and proficiency in his respective language. “It’s not a test that you pass or fail, but see what you should do to improve,” Dr. Gaudry said. “It’s done online, you don’t have to pay for it.”
This test is one that will be taken in spring of a student’s sophomore year, as well as in the fall of a student’s senior year.
Dr. Nimmrichter came up to the front afterwards, and announced that she would be giving out the Departmental Sophomore Award. This award is given to a student that excels across the board, especially in foreign languages. This year’s recipient is Jeremy Rhoads, a Spanish Education major.
“I am honored to have received this award, and I am thankful to God and my family,” Rhoads said. “I’ve seen that languages can really open my eyes up to the world.” He made mentions of having a family that was very cultured. “Culture is my life.”
Rhoads mentioned how he became so successful with his language studies. “Time management is the biggest key for me, and when it’s combined with self discipline, it’s the key to success for me.” He also said that the community, international relations and media are essential to keeping his language sharp. “The benefits of learning language are endless,” Rhoads said.
Dr. Nimmrichter came up to the front once more to talk about the importance of internships. She said to not wait until senior year to think about internships, and to always keep thinking about the future. Students were brought to the meeting to talk on their internships.
One of the students brought in was Leanne Lefever, who has an internship with United Way of York, helping kids that go to William Penn with the Youth Court Alliance. She mentioned that it helps people who haven’t been going to school, which could be for a number of reasons, such as not having transportation, not speaking English or not knowing what time school started, among other reasons. That person would be tried in front of a jury of their peers, where instead of paying a fine, or some other legal measure, they provide other solutions, such as positive punishment, including writing a letter to their school, or something along those lines.
Being that Lefever is bilingual, speaking both Spanish and English, she has become a true asset to the company, as she is one of the only people in the United Way of York to speak Spanish, something of which could be a large part of a child not attending school, due to the language barrier. “There’s a lot of misunderstandings that happen between cultures,” Lefever said.
Once more, Dr. Nimmrichter announced the next speaker, who was Michelle Boté, the Assistant Director for the Experiential Learning and Career Management program run at Millersville. She also explained the importance of internships. Boté talked of how the ELCM was willing to help people find internships, but also explained that it was up to the students to find something they’re interested in doing first.
With that, the meeting was officially closed. Several language professors were there to answer any questions that students may have had. The students were challenged to not talk in English for the rest of the time they were in that room, and mingle with others who were learning the same language as them.
For more information about Millersville’s Foreign Language department, please visit http://www.millersville.edu/forlang/ , and to learn more about potential internship opportunities, or other career inquiries, please visit http://www.millersville.edu/elcm/ .