BYU-Idaho students develop foreign language proficiency through study abroad programs

July 15, 2013

Writer: Paul Morgan

Students looking to have an international experience have two study abroad programs provided for them by the Department of Languages and International Studies at Brigham Young University-Idaho: one to Beijing, China, and the other to Viña del Mar, Chile. 

The BYU-Idaho Department of Languages and International Studies has provided opportunities for students to study abroad for a number of years. It is from these educational expeditions that students become immersed in the language they are learning and receive greater understanding of how to use and improve their language skills.

"Living or studying abroad in a country where one's target foreign language is spoken is crucial to developing linguistic and cultural skills that allow meaningful communication to take place," said Scott Galer, instructor in the Department of Language and International Studies.

BYU-Idaho has an exchange agreement with Capital Normal University in Beijing. The students who travel to China will be able to study as part of the Capital Normal student body. The trip is a full semester intensive language program that requires students to have had at least one year of Mandarin Chinese here at BYU-Idaho. 

This remarkable opportunity for students to live in and experience the culture of China will be a valuable and beneficial stepping stone towards the student's comprehension and use of the language.

The study abroad program to Chile commenced last year, with 14 students spending four months living with local families in Viña del Mar. The time spent in Chile allowed students to become involved with the local community and church. 

Students not only had the chance to improve their language skills while on this trip, but also gained valuable life experience and an increased appreciation for the Chilean culture and people. 

The study abroad programs are specifically designed to focus students on improving both their familiarity and proficiency with the languages they are learning. 

As with all students who attend BYU-Idaho, those who take advantage of these fantastic programs will have the responsibility and privilege of representing the university and strengthening its reputation among other nations and cultures.