The language program is aimed at the hundreds of UTSA students whose study, work and research plans abroad have been canceled due to restrictions linked to the pandemic.
As an institution serving Hispanics (HSI), UTSA engages in programs that accelerate the success of Latino students, including improving access to higher education among a large population of first-year students. generation. The global pandemic, however, has had an overwhelming effect on the study abroad program, which offers language advancement and cultural opportunities to students who have never traveled abroad.
“San Antonio is a place where people speak Spanish and many other languages,” added Richardson. “We bring linguistic and cultural immersion to the front door of our students. “
Foreign travel experiences and bilingualism give students a competitive advantage in their educational careers and in today’s job markets, as they will be able to develop language and intercultural skills that employers value.
The language recovery initiative will also partner with the San Antonio Language Academy (SALA), which provides undergraduate education in Spanish, Chinese, French, German and other languages. SALA will provide UTSA students with experiences involving innovative coursework, activities and field trips, including multi-week extracurricular language immersion experiences in Spanish, Japanese and Korean.
All of these programs aim to engage students in languages, cultures and traditions that will help them develop fluency in their second or third language and gain intercultural expertise. Classes also allow students to “make sense of otherness” experienced by multicultural and first generation students in heterogeneous border communities.
San Antonio is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, with 42.8% of its residents speaking languages other than English at home, according to the 2019 American Community Survey. bilingual citizens of San Antonio places the city in a unique pantheon.
“The people who awarded the grant clearly understood how special San Antonio is with its rich multilingual and multicultural heritage,” said Richardson. “We look around and see a great metropolitan area that is truly unique in the number of bilingual citizens and the number of people here with international experience. “