The Modern Linguist
Study Abroad Spotlight

Spain (Spanish)
Jan Term 2015
Spain Immerse yourself in the language, culture and history of Spain through a Jan Term program in Sevilla! You will take level-appropriate language courses and participate in homestays, service projects, and cultural excursions, such as visits to Córdoba and Granada. Sevilla offers a rich historical environment in which to improve your Spanish skills and to experience living in another culture. For more information, contact Angeles Aller at
Study Abroad Spotlight

Eye on Alumni
A View from Abroad
Scripture of the Month

Québec (French)
May Term 2015

Quebec Learn French in beautiful, historic Québec City! Québec's motto is "Je me souviens" (I remember). It's a great place to create your own wonderful memories. Learn the language at your own level in an immersion environment; stay with Québécois families; do volunteer work side-by-side with native speakers; learn about French-Canadian history, politics and culture; explore the only fortified city north of Mexico; visit museums and restaurants, and experience French culture outside of the Hexagon. It's all waiting for you in Québec, May Term 2015! For more information, contact Jenny Brown at

Whitworth in China (Chinese)
Fall Semester 2014
China The Whitworth in China Program (WIC) is a 16-week language and cultural immersion program with a study tour to learn about some of China's historical sites. The fall-semester program includes an academic course option of 14-17 credit hours at Minzu University (formerly the Central University of Nationalities), in Beijing, China, one of China's elite universities. The program lasts three months and will closely match Whitworth's academic calendar.

Program features include:

壹 Pre- and post-course language evaluation;
貳 Intensive Chinese language instruction (equal to one year of on-campus Chinese): 280 in-class contact hours with a Chinese instructor with degrees and certificates in teaching Chinese as a second language;
叄 Seven- to eight-day study tour, which includes travel, lodging and most meals;
肆 Students will reside in university dorm rooms (two people per room) at Minzu University.

For more information, please contact Todd Friends, director of the Whitworth in China program, at

Costa Rica Center
Summer or Fall Semester 2014; Spring or Summer Semester 2015

Costa Rica

Live, learn and serve in Latin America, one of the world's most unique ecosystems!

Globalization is a powerful force in the world today; cross-cultural interactions influence every academic area and career path. A recent national study identifies study abroad as a high-impact learning activity that boosts student performance and contributes to the optimal college experience. At Whitworth, we want to make study abroad a viable and enriching part of every student's academic plan.

The Costa Rica Center offers a variety of interdisciplinary courses designed to meet general education requirements for students in any major. The courses are taught in English by Whitworth and Costa Rican professors.

Curriculum courses:
Intensive Spanish (multiple levels); history & culture of Central America; ecology/environmental science; Core 350, with a regional emphasis; internships in a variety of majors; rotating courses in art, business, English, music, politics and more!

Co-curricular programs:
Family homestays; service-learning; travel to cloud forests, volcanoes and other regional sites, including one-week trips to Nicaragua and Cuba (at no extra cost); and cultural activities in the region.

Applications for summer 2014, fall 2014 and spring 2015 are available online at the Off-Campus Studies website.

For more information, visit the Costa Rica Center website, or contact Rachel Witthuhn, CRC recruiter, at, or Kim Hernández, CRC faculty liaison, at


Need more information about any of these study abroad options? E-mail the faculty coordinator for each program listed above; stop by the off-campus studies office in Hendrick Hall; or visit

Charles Tappa, Associate Director of Off-Campus Studies, or 509.777.4499



Eye on Alumni

Susan Vinton, '82, French and International Studies Double Major

The Congo and Tanzania: "The Chaos Was Vibrant and Real"

Susan VintonThe chaos was vibrant and real. We had over 400 people at our HIV/AIDS clinic in need of their anti-retroviral drugs yesterday. The place was packed and my students and I were trying to do the impossible – keep track of everyone and their files and their identification cards and, at the same time, make sure that everyone felt welcome. These people are not patients to me – they have become my friends and my family here in the village where I live in Tanzania.

How did a Whitworth student who double-majored in French and international studies end up entering into the world of AIDS, running what I often call a first-aid clinic for those with HIV/AIDS? How did I get involved in creating a place where people can be tested for HIV and then treated for it, be loved and comforted, and helped to get back to living, to raising their kids, to making a future for themselves? My journey started with being a French major at Whitworth. Studying French helped me get invited to join the Peace Corps in Zaire (now the Congo), a francophone country where I taught secondary-school English on the borders of Rwanda and Burundi. During these two years I met Steve, who was to become my husband. Steve was running a really good secondary school in the middle of the rain forest, teaching math and physics in French. Our friendship began over teaching kids in Africa, and it has never stopped – neither our friendship nor the teaching of kids in Africa.

In the late 1990s, Steve and I left for the neighboring country Tanzania to wait out the fighting in eastern Congo. We, and I think everyone, thought the war would be short – and I learned a lot about international relations beyond what I learned in class. Steve and I started a secondary school in the little village where we were living, with only 14 students (at that time, everyone was skeptical about this thing called secondary education). Four years later we had 602 students enrolled, and when that first class graduated, class members told us that they wanted "to bring secondary education to rural villages like you brought it to us."

Working together, we founded Village Schools Tanzania (now Village Schools International) in 2005. Today we have 29 schools open (including one in the neighboring country of Malawi), another five under construction, and nearly 9,000 students currently studying. The schools help us to become part of the communities where, together with our students, we can address community issues in ways other programs don't necessarily think of. What I love is seeing those kids, who the world would label as being poor and helpless, serving the sick and the elderly. Everyone can carry a bucket of water, find thatch for a roof, or gather firewood so food can be cooked. People can choose to share a handful of maize from their meager supplies with those who are even needier. We have even made bricks together and have built houses. And in the end, our students love it. They see themselves as people capable of serving others and making a real difference in the lives of those in great need.

Sixteen years ago, I left the Congo and have hardly spoken a word of French since. Kiswahili and Kihehe are the languages I use here. But what is more important than language is the heart that guides its use. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us that without love our words are useless, "a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." Our hope is that in this work, our actions, together with our words, regardless of what language they are spoken in, would show His love in all that we do.

A View from Abroad

Reflections on Germany from Joshua Bigner, '16, Psychology and Sociology Double Major with a German Language Minor


Joshua BignerGrüße aus Marburg an der Lahn, Deutschland. (Greetings from Marburg on the Lahn, Germany),

When it comes to fairytales, many people may have an image of a particular fantasyland where the story takes place. Most of the time, people imagine a kingdom or town surrounded by trees and paved with cobblestone streets, with a castle looking far into the distance, and the kingdom is ruled by highly-decorated royalty. At the core of every fairytale is a story of falling in love that ends with happily-ever-after. Although Marburg, Germany, may no longer have the kings and queens of old, it still has all the other presumed requirements of a fairytale.

Before arriving in Germany on Aug. 21, 2013, I had no idea what was in store. I knew, of course, that it would be different than living in the United States, but I didn't know how different. I was nervous, and the fact that the locals spoke a different language, and not being as fluent as I had hoped I would be, made me feel uncomfortable. I certainly felt stressed. However, no matter how prepared someone is before visiting a foreign country, let alone living there, culture shock is going to arrive in one way or another. Eventually, after being here for a couple of months, one gets adjusted to the differences of the culture, and communication takes less effort. Every place is different and that is why I travel: to learn about other people and the vast variety of cultures we have on this small planet.

Although I have only been here for three months, I have certainly been amazed by the German lifestyle and the differences from the ways of life in the U.S. Mainly, the unprecedented amounts of patience of the locals, their wonderful hospitality, and the more relaxed daily life. In America, we seem to be so constantly stressed with our everyday lives because of all the places we need to be in such a short amount of time. It is quite a relief not having to constantly rush every hour of the day and to just take things as they come. Although laid back, German's aren't lazy. I'm astounded by how well-educated and passionate the students are about their studies. When discussing controversial topics, they show deep understanding of both sides of the conflict, even though they may only agree with one side. They are accepting of other's opinions but hold true to their own. Marburg is a very politically-active town. The people here are definitely highly involved in the local and national politics, and are fully aware of the troubles and policies of their government.

Not only do they live laid back, passionate, politically-active lives, they also live caring and satisfying ones. Whenever I arrive at friends' homes, they always sit me down first and consistently ask me if I need anything. Sometimes, they hand me something to drink without me even asking for it. They serve you first before themselves. I admire the way they have their priorities straight.

Now, where does the fairytale come in? It's not in the cobblestone streets or the medieval castle looking down upon the city from on top of a hill, but from the life that one lives. The truth is, living in another country provides one with experiences he or she could never imagine, making it a fantasy to those you may want to inform. You will have memories that will last for a lifetime and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The relationships you develop are some of the strongest that will ever grow. I'm not trying to be cheesy here, but it's the truth. By studying abroad, a chapter of your life isn't written, but a brand-new story. Everyone has a different story, and I'm sure you will fall in love with your experience right away just like I did. I have only been here for a few months, and I wish I could stay here for another semester. If any of you are debating whether to study abroad someday, which I highly suggest you do, you have to remain open-minded and accepting of the differences that may arise. You have to be willing to go outside your comfort zone and explore new experiences. If you are willing to accept these terms, I'm sure the story you write, like most fairytales, will end in a "happily ever after!"

Announcements and Upcoming Events

Class of 2014
Mark your calendars for the annual World Languages & Cultures Senior Breakfast on Saturday, May 17, 2014, from 9:30-11 a.m. This event is for you and your family to enjoy on graduation weekend. More information will be forthcoming, along with invitations to send to your family members.

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Scholarships and Fellowships:

Boren Awards: 2014-15 Applications Available from

  • Boren Scholarships and Fellowships for International Study
    Boren Awards, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study in Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East, where students can add important international and language components to their educations.
  • African Languages Initiative for French and Swahili
    For applicants who are at an intermediate-high or above proficiency. For a full explanation of the African Languages Initiative, look under "Announcements" on the left side of the Boren Awards page.

Critical Languages Scholarship (CLS) Program
This program offers fully funded summer language institutes for U.S. university students and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The program is offered in 13 critical languages at 20 locations around the globe. Languages include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian. For more information, speak to Whitworth's CLS Alumni Ambassadors, student Will Pollock, '14, or Assistant Professor of Economics & Business Todd Friends, or visit

Two GAANN Grants Available at Middle Tennessee State University for Spring 2014 (Possibly Fall 2014)
Students pursuing an M.A.T. in French, German or Spanish may apply. Candidates should fill out an application for the Master of Arts in Teaching Foreign Languages program, as well as the FAFSA. MTSU's graduate faculty chooses the fellows late in the fall semester. If the fellowships don't open this spring, they will open in fall 2014. If you have further questions, contact Joan McRae, Ph.D., chair, department of foreign languages & literature:

WAFLT Student Scholarships
Six $500 scholarships each year are available to Washington residents enrolled in any world language class at the 300-level or higher. Merit-based award. Application deadline: April 15, 2014. For more information, please contact Bridget Yaden at

Seattle-Nantes Dollars for Scholars Scholarship
Students must be from Western Washington and be a member of the Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association. This scholarship awards up to $1,000 for students enrolled in French classes who intend to intensively study, minor or major in French/Francophone studies. More information is available from their website. The due date for this year's application is April 15.

DAAD Alumni Association of the U.S., University Summer Course Grants
Applicants must have completed a minimum of four semesters of college German (or equivalent language proficiency) before applying, but can be of any major. Scholarships can be applied at a number of German universities. Check the DAAD Summer Course Search Engine and look for the circle icon for courses that are eligible for funding. Course must last a minimum of three weeks. Scholarship is approximately €850, and will cover tuition, room and board in whole or in part. They will also provide an international travel subsidy of €300-450. Contact for complete details. Application is available online.

Tutoring: Open finals week; All levels – FREE; Walk-ins are always welcome!
Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities.

  • French
    Every Sunday and Thursday, 8-9 p.m. in Westminster 113
  • German
    Monday afternoons, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in Library 208 (across from Composition Commons)
  • Spanish
    Five nights a week: Sun/Tues/Thurs, from 7-9 p.m.; Mon/Wed, from 7-8 p.m., in Library 208 (across from Composition Commons)

Costa Rica Center
It's not too late to apply for spring semester 2014 at the CRC! Special courses in business, sociology and history are being offered only this spring! Don't miss this opportunity! For more information, please contact CRC faculty liaison Kim Hernandez,, or CRC recruiter Rachel Witthuhn,

The CRC summer 2014 program will feature business classes taught by Vange Ocasio and Margie LaShaw. Spanish courses and internships will also be available. Summer applications will open soon!

Community-Based Theatre in Costa Rica – May 2014! Come join this incredible May Term program at the CRC! Applications will close in early December, and are available in Hendrick Hall #118 or Cowles Auditorium #105.

Scripture of the Month

English: Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Arabic: ارمياء
سَتَطلُبُونَنِي وَتَجِدُونَنِي حِينَ تَطلُبُونَنِي بِكُلِّ قُلُوبِكُمْ،

Chinese: 耶利米书 29:13
你们寻求我, 若专心寻求,就必寻见。

French: Jérémie 29:13
Vous me chercherez, et vous me trouverez, si vous me cherchez de tout votre coeur.

German: Jeremia 29:13
Ihr werdet mich suchen und finden; denn wenn ihr mich von ganzem Herzen suchen werdet, so will ich mich von euch finden lassen.

Hebrew: ירמיה 29:13
וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּ֥ם אֹתִ֖י וּמְצָאתֶ֑ם כִּ֥י תִדְרְשֻׁ֖נִי בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶֽם׃

Japanese: 耶利米书 29:13
你们寻求我, 若专心寻求,就必寻见。

Spanish: Jeremías 29:13
Me buscarán y me encontrarán, cuando me busquen de todo corazón.

Swahili: Yeremia 29.13:
Nanyi mtanitafuta, na kuniona, mtakaponitafuta kwa moyo wenu wote.

Vol. 20 Issue 3 Dec. 2013

The Modern Linguist was birthed from the desire to unite those who study in the world languages discipline at Whitworth University. The newsletter features information, news and stories applicable to those involved in the program. Let it serve you well.

World Languages & Cultures Department
Westminster Hall
Whitworth University
Phone: 509.777.4765
Department Chair and Editor-in-Chief: Jennifer Brown
Editor: Stacey Moo
For student employment information, please contact Stacey Moo, program assistant, at 509.777.4765

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