Open Forum

 View Only
  • 1.  World Language Immersion programs in middle and high schools.

    Posted 01-26-2022 17:05
    When my daughter was learning French in 7th grade, our school had a French immersion weekend. I was lucky enough to be a chaperone and experience the impact that the students felt, trying to converse with each other in French, eating French food, and learning French games and songs. Because of this experience, several of the students signed up for a 10 day Summer exchange and I am talking to world language teachers about Rotary Youth Exchange.

    Indiana Dunes National Park
    Redirect Notice

    A couple years ago I contacted Reid Lewis, the organizer of the French immersion weekend and found out that they were no longer running the immersion program because the Reid was in poor health and was the key to the operation. I volunteered to help, but it was too late, the program no longer existed. So, last year I started looking at other immersion programs that were offered and found Concordia College in MN, and a couple others. I asked the world language department heads at area high schools  if they had participated in these immersion programs and found out that they do. I also found out that some high schools arrange cultural exchanges with sister cities and some world language teachers organize their own trips for their students. Because of the pandemic, all of these immersion programs have been suspended and can not be restarted until later in 2022 or 2023. This leaves a lot of students out, and I decided to think outside of the box, to find a way to promote world language immersion programs, even if I had to invent my own.  Reid Henri Lewis, La Médaille d'Or de Solidarité et Valeu (

    I started with my local Rotary Club and asked if I could create a grant application, to promote new and existing world language immersion programs at area middle and high schools. Next, I contacted world language teachers in my area and offered to help them fund an immersion program.  Several of the teachers liked the idea and eventually applied for a $500 grant, to help defray travel expenses for students that were financially unable to participate in an exchange/immersion program. Our Rotary Club approved the grant and several club members have been invited to attend a parents meeting and kick off event. All in all, I think we are moving in the right direction, promoting world language immersion.

    World  Language Immersion Grant Opportunity

    This Rotary year one of the initiatives of our Youth Services Committee is to offer financial support for starting or expanding an immersion program in French/Spanish, or other world languages.  A grant of up to $500 will be awarded as part of this initiative.  To download the grant application click here.   For more information about the program, please contact John Kent, Youth Services chair.  

    So, here's some questions for the group, or the person that's reading this post:
    What do you think about world language immersion programs? 
    If you speak another language, would you consider chaperoning or hosting students in an immersion program?
    Do immersion programs serve as a bridge between taking world language classes and study abroad programs?

    John Kent

  • 2.  RE: World Language Immersion programs in middle and high schools.

    Posted 01-28-2022 13:26
    Hi, John!

    I don't speak any language besides English and I don't know anything about immersion or study abroad programs. But I do wish I had had a chance to participate in an immersion program when I was in high school back in the dark ages. Maybe then I could say more than "Je ne parle pas français"! ;) 

    In any case, I'm so impressed with the grant program you've established. And I love that your daughter's 7th grade immersion program still inspires you! Kudos to you.

    Maria Mooshil