A Global Village:
Juniata's International LivingLearning Communities
By: Genna Welsh Kasun '06
Issue: Winter 2013
Photo: Courtesy: Sungouk Park '14
Picture this: you're surrounded by authentic cultural artifacts, eating cuisine from a country you've wanted to explore for ages, and, to top it off, you have a native speaker to help you with your foreign language homework. Sounds like a pretty cool study abroad experiencebut you're still on Juniata's campus.
This is the idea behind the college's Global Village. The village is the Spanish House, the French House, Haus Wanderlust (the German House) and an intercultural dorm floor, all livinglearning communities representing more than just a themed place to lay your head. It's a space where American students and students from abroad can live together—having an authentic cultural experience that's fun and educational.
Sure, we watch movies and make soup for Mexican Independence day, but we also go salsa dancing in State College and take trips to see concerts in Harrisburg and Philly, says Clayton Cooper '13, who lives in the Spanish House.
We are involved in planning Fiesta Latina, too. Last year, we were able to bring in flamenco dancers for this dinner.
Cooper, like each resident, is required to take a language class while he lives in the house, but the academic gains don't end there.
It's a great way to come back from studying abroad and continue to speak the language, Cooper adds.
And, it can help students boost their confidence in speaking so they are prepared for study abroad.
All students living in the Global Village also participate in Language in Motion, a national program that was created at Juniata. In it, international students give presentations to local students about their home culture. And, similarly, American students like Cooper present short talks on what it was like to study abroad.
I talk about my internship in Ecuador, where I interned at a private hospital and waterbirthing clinic, Cooper says.
I want to show high school students that languages are used for much more than just getting into college.