Learning The Language In Spain

The I.U. Honors Program In Foreign Languages Helps Students Become Fluent Speakers In Just Weeks!


Elena Krueper, Editor-in-Chief

Learning a new language can be an interesting, new way for people to broaden their horizons and get a feel for a new culture. That being said, Indiana University Bloomington is offering some of their foreign language students the opportunity to study abroad to further their language skills and learn more about what it’s like to live in a different country. 

The program is called the I.U. Honors Program in Foreign Languages and is currently offered to Elkhart High School students who are enrolled in Ivy Tech Spanish (or a Spanish class higher than Spanish III). Mrs. April Schneider, a Spanish teacher at EHS, explains: “The program offers many benefits for students, including experiencing life in another country with a host family, being completely immersed in the target language, and opening one’s eyes to a different culture.  Most students return from the program mostly or completely fluent in the language.

The program takes place in the summer over a 5-6 week period. During this time, students would be placed with a host family in Spain and would be required to speak in Spanish for the entire duration of their stay. Participants would also be required to attend classes during the week, where they would learn and discuss Culture, Grammar, Literature, Communication, and Linguistics in Spanish. This total immersion experience will help students connect with new people, establish lifelong bonds, and see the world in an entirely new way.

While this may seem intimidating, Mrs. Schneider would like to reassure students. She states, “Most of the host families have been hosting students for many years and know how to help you through the rough times.  The program itself has been around for a long time, so the professors are also a big help with this.” Students should know that they won’t be alone, and they will still have plenty of people to help and support them in this new environment.

Schneider also goes on to describe her experience:  “I went to Spain on a similar program when I was a junior in college.  All of the other participants were already Spanish teachers,” she recalls, “but a friend and I were the only ones still in college.  We lived with a host family and were only allowed to speak in Spanish for two-and-a-half months.” Remembering her initial reaction, she adds, “The first two weeks were pretty tough since I thought I knew Spanish a lot better than I actually did. But, after those initial weeks, everything I had studied started to make sense, and I was able to speak fluently and understand with ease.” With respect to the people of Spain themselves, Schneider continues, “The host family experience was wonderful.  I really got a feeling for what it was like to live in Spain.  We had classes in the morning and activities and excursions around the country in the afternoons–just like the IUHPFL program.  It was an amazing experience to travel around the country, see the sights, and learn about the culture from many different perspectives.” 

Furthermore, there are dozens of other reasons to enroll in the program. Schneider shares, “I became completely fluent in the language, which is a huge asset in any profession.  Most importantly, the program opened my eyes to how people live and think in other places, which gave me a more global understanding of the world.” Concluding, Schneider states, “It helped me to understand other cultures and to not judge things as ‘weird’ just because they were different.  I made many lifelong friends, and now I always have a free place to stay while in Spain!”

The I.U. Honors Program in Foreign Languages is a life-changing opportunity for students to network in a new country, earn college credits, and become fluent in a second language! If interested, students can learn more at: https://iuhpfl.indiana.edu/