Undergraduates can now knock out their language requirement in one summer.
A new program offered by the Spanish department will condense the first three semesters of Spanish language courses into one summer program, which will focus on language acquisition and civic engagement. The Intensive Spanish Summer Institute will be directed by Liliana Paredes, associate professor of the practice of Spanish and director of the Spanish language program, and will be co-taught by Paredes and Rebecca Ewing, lecturing fellow in Spanish. In addition to language courses at Duke, participants in the program will engage with Durham’s Latino community and will spend a week in Mexico City in the middle of the program.
“[The program] will have a civic engagement component which means students are going to be having experiential learning, projects and activities in the Latin community here in Durham,” Paredes said. “In a way, that component is addressing the cultural part of learning a language intensively.”
The intensive course—which will span both summer sessions—is designed for students without prior Spanish language experience, since it will start with Spanish 101, Paredes said.
The new program completes the language requirement, differentiating it from the Duke Intensive Spanish program in Alicante, Spain, which covers two semesters of intensive Spanish in a six-week summer session.
There are 12 spaces in the program, which draws on the University’s involvement with global education and civic engagement, said Lee Baker, dean of academic affairs for Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and associate vice provost for undergraduate education.
“This particular program leverages the innovative course design that we have developed with DukeImmerse, Service Learning and existing intensive language courses, and combines those course elements with civic and global Engagement,” Baker wrote in an email Tuesday. “Although this is not study abroad, Duke is fortunate because we are situated in the Triangle, which has rich and diverse Spanish-speaking communities from which our students can learn and engage.”
In addition to teaching Spanish, Ewing has experience with civic engagement, having taught EDUC 307S “Issues of Education and Immigration” for three years. Ewing noted that her experience in this field has helped her forge connections with the Durham community that she can draw upon during the summer program.
Although students are exposed to new cultures when they go abroad, many Duke students do not interact with the Durham community, Ewing said.
“It’s an opportunity for students to get to know Durham better and establish a stronger community,” she said.
The parts of the course that take place outside of the classroom—both in Durham and in Mexico City—will serve to promote not only civic engagement and cultural immersion, but language acquisition as well, Ewing said. The condensed nature of the course will allow students to be more comfortable with the class and encourage participation and language practice.
Some summer language programs have existed in the past, but the department had been discussing the potential for a new course involving community engagement, Paredes said.
“[Several instructors] were talking about summer school and how so many students are.... Doing study abroad programs and DukeEngage programs and the campus was just not really well used in summer,” Paredes said.
Several spots remain open for this summer’s program, Ewing said.
Students can apply for the program by emailing Paredes for additional details.