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Foreign Language Institute partnership provides new world of opportunities

February 27, 2014 | Kim Jeyaraj

A Mandarin saying goes like this: “To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.”

Evangel University senior Natassia Lopez believes the advantage of learning a language is having a broadened worldview. For Cody Mitchell, senior international studies major, it is to further his career goals.

Two years ago, Missouri State University partnered with Evangel University, Drury University, Ozarks Technical Community College and Southwest Baptist University partnered to form the Foreign Language Institute (FLI). The languages currently offered at the FLI may be taken for college credit or simply for personal development.

“The instructors come with an impressive background. They are all native speakers and are able to give insight into the language and culture,” says Mitchell, who is studying Russian.

“Foreign languages fascinate me. I am enjoying the challenge of learning Arabic,” says Lopez, an English major who is planning on a career in teaching English as a second language (TESOL). “No matter what language you choose, you gain a greater worldview through the lens of that language.”

2014-03.03 FLI girls outside

Junior Laurel Klein (left) and senior Natassia Lopez (right), both English majors, take classes through the Foreign Language Institute, which meets in downtown Springfield at the Jim D. Morris Center.

“The fact that FLI courses are ‘seated’ is a benefit to our students because they have frequent, in-person access to native speakers of the given languages,” says Dr. Nathan Nelson, chair of Evangel’s Humanities Department. “There’s a certain kind of immersion value to the seated course.”

Expanded language opportunities

Most schools offer Spanish and French but lack faculty resources to offer other languages.

“I have friends in Eastern Europe and Russia, and the Russian language has always intrigued me,” says Mitchell. “When I learned I would have the opportunity to learn Russian in an academic setting, I was ecstatic.”

“Taking Italian through the Foreign Language Institute has enabled me to take a language not offered at Evangel,” says Laurel Klein, junior English major. “It has allowed me to meet people from other campuses. Together we share an appreciation for other languages.”

“Many Evangel students have international career aspirations,” Nelson says. “For those who want to study languages other than what we offer (French, Spanish, Greek, or Hebrew), the Foreign Language Institute is a major boon. Registration for courses in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Portuguese, and Italian — even Swahili, if it comes around — is extremely easy. An EU student simply adds an FLI course to his or her own Evangel schedule for a given semester.”

FLI is unique because languages are offered not only to students but also to the community, making the process cost and time effective. Courses are held Monday through Friday in Siceluff Hall on MSU’s main campus and at the Jim D. Morris Center in downtown Springfield.

Evangel University Humanities Department professors were able to provide input regarding the formation of the FLI. Dr. Nathan Nelson, professor of English and department chair; Dr. Robert Turnbull, professor of French; and Professor Jennifer Morrison, assistant professor of English/TESOL, were a part of the original FLI advisory board. Turnbull is now the permanent EU liaison with the Institute.

Learn more about the Foreign Language Institute

Kim Jeyaraj is a graduate assistant in the Evangel public relations office. She speaks two Indian languages and has learned French and Spanish.

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