Starting the Week Strong

July 1, 2014

We are off to a great start in our second week at the MMLA Swarthmore College Academy. There has been a great atmosphere around here after last nights Language Pledge® recommitment ceremony. I can see that every student is finding their own way a little each passing day and hopefully this week is no different. Here is what each Academy has been up to thus far:

The Spanish Academy had an awesome, but a relaxing start to our second week after a very busy weekend. Our day began with morning assembly, which featured audience participation in choosing MMLA’s favorite foods. Some of the choices were both difficult and hilarious, while others were less appetizing. After class, students were able to choose from a variety of activities including capture the flag, soccer, pictionary and charades. 

Additionally, today was the first time that students were allowed to head into the quaint town of Swarthmore to check out the local coffee shop, head over to the co-op to buy some delicious treats or simply grab a smoothie and ‘chill.’ The students loved a chance to explore the town independently, but also got to experience the challenges of the Language Pledge® from an entirely new perspective. Because of MMLA’s history at Swarthmore, our students were often more surprised by the challenge of pointing and gesturing than the many of the townsfolk, but enjoyed the experience. Besides, Hobbs’ fresh coffees are worth the extra effort!

-Ben Bradshaw, Spanish Residential Advisor

Today, the Chinese academy had a great time making “jiao zi” (dumplings) and writing “shu fa” (calligraphy). Led by teachers in the cultural exploration section, some students made Chinese dumplings by themselves with cabbage, pork, green onion and other seasonings. They enjoyed tasting both water-boiled and pan-fried dumplings. Other students explored the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy and even wrote their Chinese name with a calligraphy brush. Students also learned basic techniques of calligraphy by practicing the character 永 (yong).  

-Ya Chu Liu, Chinese Residential Advisor

On Monday the French Academy warmed up with a group exercise where students had a word or phrase taped to their backs with the goal of guessing what it was. The energy of the group was strong and confident, as students made quick work of the exercise before heading off to class. After activities and dinner the entire Academy gathered again to present and share what they learned during class.  After everyone had presented, Étienne (our Language Director), decided to provide them with a taste of one of the more challenging comprehension experiences in French culture: the news! A short clip covered four news stories from La Normandie, during which even the most advanced students could find many opportunities to expand their understanding of the language. Finally, before heading back to the dorms, Elise (our Assistant Language Director) brought the academy wide assembly to a close by teaching a short, lullaby-like song and bringing the entire academy together into one voice before heading back to the residence halls, ready to rest before another engaging day of immersion.

-Nolan Powers, French Residential Advisor

Until next time,

-Max Brazo, Program Assistant