Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Languages gives students opportunities to study abroad

Beats

The selection process for the Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Languages (IUHPFL) is in the process of reviewing student applications to participate in its study abroad program. While the deadline for the applications was on Sept. 29, students participating in the program will begin the selection process on Oct. 5. The program is open to high school students who are currently in their third year or higher of their foreign language. This year, the program has expanded, now offering five different locations, including China, France, Germany, Mexico and Spain, for students to visit from June to July of next year.

 

“I would recommend this program for students who would really like to immerse themselves in a language in a unique way,” Andrea Yocum said, program organizer and French teacher. “You need to be passionate about the language, but as far as ability level, don’t feel like you have to be perfect. You just need to be open-minded.”

 

According to the program’s website, the program not only advances language skills but also fosters  cross-cultural understandings that provide students with one of the most valuable and unforgettable experiences of their lives.

 

“You experience the language. You finally see that it’s not a school subject that you just learn and forget. People actually do speak these languages . People actually do these things,” Angelika Becker said, world language department chair and German teacher. “You really experience the country and you grow as a person. That is really, I think, the most important thing. That when you come back, you are a more independent (and) more well-rounded person.”

 

As shown in research done at Indiana University, Bloomington, this program will benefit students in their educational careers. According to the study, students who have participated in the program have improved test scores at both the high school and college level, along with tuition savings, as most students are able to test into fifth semester college language instruction after completing the program.

 

Eric Wang, program alumni and senior, got to experience this directly after returning from the program in Germany.

 

“It really improved my German, which was one of my goals,” Wang said.

 

When studying abroad with the program, students are also given the opportunity to stay with local host families and experience the culture firsthand by partaking in cultural activities with their host families.

 

“(The students) really are immersed in the culture and in the language,” Becker said. “Because when you do some of these trips where you stay in a hotel, you’re a tourist. But here you actually live there.”

 

Overall, this program also offers many benefits to students in the long run. For Wang, this program has influenced his cultural awareness along with his ability to better face challenges.

 

“It’s definitely a really rewarding program,” Wang said. “It is kind of expensive, but I think it pays off.”

 

In the future, many hope to expand this program at CHS and invite more students to participate.

 

“Have an open-mind about programs like this and try it. Because they are absolutely life-changing programs,” Yocum said. “I’ve been working with IUHPFL for 15 years and when students come back, they have changed. They are more confident, they are more independent, they make decisions more readily, they work better in groups, (and) really grow from the experience.”

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