A new and rigorous Spanish-intensive course will replace regular study abroad courses at Montevideo, Uraguay in Fall 2014.
Stephen Shewmaker, executive director for international education said they were urged to create the program.
“Paul Roggendorff challenged us to develop a program that would provide an even more robust purpose that would serve as a capstone experience for students majoring and minoring in Spanish,” Shewmaker said.
Dr. Paul Roggendorf, associate professor of Spanish and director of World Languages, proposed the idea to the study abroad team last year.
“It was based on my experience at another college where Spanish majors were required to attend a semester in an immersion study abroad experience in a Spanish-speaking country during their junior or senior year,” Roggendorff said.
Roggendorff will be joining the students in Montevideo for the first semester with resident directors Wimon and Rosalinda Walker.
“I grew up across the river in Buenos Aires,where my parents served as missionaries for ten years,” Roggendorff said. “In a way, its like going back home for an extended visit. I’m also thrilled my family will be going and I will be able to share with my kids a bit of the culture I experienced at their age.”
Like other study abroad trips, students will learn in and out of the classroom. Plans are being made to visit cities like Machu Picchu, and Cuzco, Peru and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and local attractions. Students will also be allowed one week to travel on their own.
“These types of experiences are excellent for language learners because it serves as an internship of sorts where they get to put into practice what they have learned in class,” Roggendorff said. “And I’m not talking about just the language, but the cultures as well.”
Students will be able to choose between an intermediate track or an advanced track based on whether they are majoring or minoring in Spanish. Students will take separate classes on each track for six to seven weeks and will combine to take the same courses for the last eight weeks. All courses will be taught in Spanish.
Expectations for the new program are high and there are few doubts of its success.
“With this program, we just hope to further the university’s mission as best we can,” Roggendorff said.