Thursday, November 11, 2010
Academia Uruguay (by Holly)
STOP. You are now entering the Spanish-speaking world. From this point there will be no Portuguese.
This is a card that hangs outside the office in a Spanish school called Academia Uruguay. It is a private language school located in the neighborhood Ciudad Vieja, the historical district of Montevideo, Uruguay's capital city. I participated in 40 hours of intensive Spanish classes there, and lived in the attached residencia for two weeks.
Academia Uruguay is an organization that I consider to be an exemplar in my cultural studies research and development of a Spanish/English school and community bilingual center. The school's core values emphasize academic excellence, professional service and complete immersion. These are three simple, yet effective strategies to business management, language acquisition, and community collaboration. The school is relatively new, having only opened in 2007, and it is operated by a young and highly educated staff, many individuals being university students like myself.
Through my personal experience as an international immersion student and language educator, I have already learned that language teaching requires more than dictating verbs and vocabulary in order for students to achieve tangible results. It is imperative that a cultural connection be relevant and apparent. Schools like Academia Uruguay provide international students with a curriculum, support and immediate application of the materials being taught in class.