By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The Summer Languages Intensive Program at Cal State San Bernardino will hold a banquet on Thursday, Aug. 1, to celebrate its seventh anniversary as one of the most engaging, diverse, comprehensive and affordable programs in the United States in working with students to develop their language and cultural skills in Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Persian.
The banquet, which will feature cultural and authentic ethnic foods along with performances and presentations, will be from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in the university’s Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center. The event is free and open to the public.
The program will also include poetry readings, songs, folkloric dance, multimedia productions, calligraphy and ceramic art works.
“The program has grown considerably since we began seven years ago,” said Dany Doueiri, an associate professor of Arabic at CSUSB’s world languages and literatures department and the coordinator of the Summer Languages Intensive Program. “When we started, we offered only Arabic. Now along with Arabic we also offer Chinese, Korean and Persian with residential and study-abroad components.”
The program brings students from a variety of backgrounds that include the military, high school, undergraduate and graduate school together under one umbrella to provide a rich and authentic opportunity to learners to benefit, appreciate and understand each other’s perspectives and backgrounds, Doueiri said.
The courses are carefully planned to expose students to authentic material from the target language and provide them opportunities to connect with members of the community and businesses that conduct work abroad.
“Our nation faces a serious shortage of citizens who are able to function in critical languages and to understand different perspectives and cultures. This has traditionally led to conflicts and loss of tremendous business opportunities,” Doueiri said. “Students who learn some of these languages greatly enhance their opportunities to compete for graduate school, receive internships, and be recruited for key positions in the public and private sectors.”
The Summer Languages Intensive Program has been carefully designed to address this shortage and to also preserve the languages and cultures of heritage speakers living in the U.S. who don’t always realize the importance of the skills they have acquired at home.
While intensive language programs typically cost between $6,000-$11,000 for a short-term session (6-9 weeks), Cal State San Bernardino’s program costs a fraction of the ongoing rate, with 75 percent of the students receiving financial aid and scholarships for the program. This has allowed it to attract participants from around the country, Doueiri said.
Students usually earn around 16 units, though some may take additional elective classes. Classroom and lab work are supplemented with daily extra-curricular activities. These include sports, games, calligraphy, music, liturgical recitations, movies, discussion, cooking, folkloric dance, ceramics and interaction with guest speakers. All activities, including field trips, are conducted from early morning to late evening.
Visit the CSUSB Summer Languages Intensive website at http://flan.csusb.edu/slip for more information on the program.