TEACHING LANGUAGE (AND CULTURE) IN LIMA
During our CIEE Online Pre-Departure Workshop, prior to the beginning of the semester in Lima, we ask the students to tell us their main goal for their semester study abroad experience. The overwhelming majority say that it is to become fluent (or near-fluent) in Spanish and they believe that Lima is just the place to accomplish this. While this is an admirable, important target and one of the most important objectives of the program, I tell the students that we also have another hidden (or subversive as I prefer to call it) agenda for them: cultural fluency.
In reality you can’t be truly be fluent in a language without being fluent in the culture as well; the two are inseparable. Students quickly learn this when they begin their direct enrollment classes on the beautiful PUCP campus and begin to make Peruvian friends, another goal ranked highly among the students. Without the ability to use and understand Peruvian colloquial language and humor, which are impossible to learn within the walls of a classroom, students struggle to communicate and form these relationships. Luckily college students, and especially the wonderful students that come to our program (really-I’m not being biased), are highly adaptable and pick up quickly the cultural euphemisms and slang terms they need in order to integrate themselves into their host families and also have the proper fun that every US college student is due (or at least thinks he/she is due).But our subversive agenda infiltrates even further through our interdisciplinary curriculum of the CIEE Lima Study Center’s core courses. Our required Spanish courses teach not only grammatical structures and essay writing skills but also Latin American variations of vocabulary and idiomatic idiosyncrasies (pardon the alliteration). The course, Understanding Peru: Race, Class, Gender, and Cultural Diversity, covers not only Peruvian history but also the more invisible aspects of Peruvian culture such as ethnicity and identity politics, dating back to the colonial era. For students that would like to develop their intercultural skills on a deeper level we offer the CIEE Seminar on Living and Learning. In this class students learn, analyze and apply theories and techniques that help them develop the ability to understand multiple points of view. Students are able to use these intercultural abilities and skills in various contexts including job interviews and graduate school applications. In addition, students are encouraged to volunteer through our CIEE Lima Volunteer Program and participate in extra-curricular activities such as the music and dance classes on campus. Also our CIEE Lima Cultural Activities are designed to have students experience the multifaceted Lima and Peru. So far our cultural activities have included Peruvian dance and percussion workshops, a weekend trip to a nearby river valley, the National Museum and the Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History, and a Peruvian cuisine workshop. Next week we will be going on our most popular trip to Cuzco and Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World!
It is our main objective, here at the CIEE Lima Study Center, that all of our students, whether their goal is to gain fluency in Spanish or just to be social, experience a truly a life-changing semester abroad, whether they want it or not!
STAY CONNECTED WITH US!
- The official CIEE Lima Study Abroad
You are on our official blog page so make sure you bookmark it! In the other posts you will see videos and student entries about life in Lima over the last several semesters.
- Our CIEE Lima Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/cieelima
We have lots of photos and videos from various semesters posted. It’s a nice place to browse to get a more updated feel of what Lima is like. Please "like" our page when you visit!
- Our CIEE Lima Twitter account: @CieeLima
I try to tweet new videos and photos as I put them up. This is another way to stay in touch.
- Our staff emails, as always, are:
firstname.lastname@example.org, Dr. Melvin Ledgard, Resident Director
email@example.com, Marion Tizón (me), Resident Coordianator
Please stay in touch. We love hearing from you!