Language Immersion: Terrifying at Best

“Rigor” takes on a whole new meaning when applied to studying a language at the University of Michigan. Adhering to the 4-semester LSA language requirement, many students find themselves in a100- or 200-level course during their time at Michigan, especially during their first two years as undergraduate students.

Whether it be French, Italian, Chinese, Hindi or Polish, most of these 100- and 200- level courses are taught completely in the language of study.

Thus, the students of these courses can relate to feeling like they’ve been tossed into a pool completely clothed, because that’s what language-study is like at U of M – as if you’re a kitten in a sudsy bathtub, drowning in conjugations and vocabulary and an extremely hard-to-replicate accent.

For those wet kitties who are reading this now, I want you to know: you are not alone.

Just this semester, I walked into my first day of French 101, eager to learn but without a shred of prior French experience. Much to my terror, when the professor opened his mouth, all that came out was a bombardment of oui and voilà and a slew of other French words that made absolutely no sense to me. I floundered, resisted the urge to burst out laughing or crying, and tolerated the 30 minutes of French until he broke into English.

“Welcome to French 101,” my professor declared once his lesson for the day was complete.

The entire class took a collective sigh of relief, and all at once, my every worry was mitigated: we were all baffled, I thought to myself. Not just me, but the entire class.

And with that collective sigh, I realized that even though immersion is terrifying and intimidating beyond belief, I wasn’t the only one confused or overwhelmed.

And since this realization, I have come to class each day (4 days a week!!) with an optimistic and hopeful attitude, knowing that if I understand anything at all, it is a victory.

Because I did just begin French a month ago, and if I can say even one comprehensible sentence or noun or verb, I have learned something, and that my friends, is called progress.

So for all you beginners, you bold under-takers, do not be afraid! There is much progress to be made and mistakes to learn from, and in that there is simply no shame.

After all, life (and language) is about the journey – not the destination – is it not?

–Britt Boyle

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Stressed About Language Midterms?

Come check out the University of Michigan Language Resource Center; we can help!

The LRC has many resources to help students out in their language classes. Whether it’s expanding proficiency or just starting out, we have materials for every level!

Textbooks

Don’t have your textbook on you and need something for class? No problem! The LRC has copies of most 1st & 2nd yr language textbooks for you to use in the center and copy the pages you need.

Tutor Bank and Conversation Partners

Need some extra help before an exam? Check out the list of tutors the LRC has put together. The tutors are organized by language. Also provided is their proficiency, their pricing, and their contact information!

If you’d like a speaking partner to practice with, we can help you with that as well! Check out the conversation partners list on our website!

http://www.lsa.umich.edu/lrc/resources/languagetutors

Need Help With Listening Skills?

We have hundreds of movies in dozens of different languages ranging from Harry Potter to old video projects for classes. Most of these have English subtitles to help you out. All Available for use in the center.

Independent Learning Kits!

If you’d like additional practice outside of the classroom, the LRC has dozens of self-teaching kits available to be checked out. These range from the basics to the higher levels of learning a language.

Mango and Yabla!

Whether you’re learning a new language or want to brush up on one you’re proficient in, check out two of our online learning programs. The LRC has purchased descriptions for students to use, just sign in with your unique name! These programs are great because they’re organized by topics and by levels. They also show you how long you’ve spent on each program!

Check them out here:

http://www.lsa.umich.edu/lrc/resources/subscriptions

Translate-a-thon Oct 23rd-25th

Come help out your community this weekend by translating for non-profits around Ann Arbor! You can also bring your own project to work on! Work in groups or on your own! This is a great way to expose yourself to new material and realize how your language abilities can make a difference in the world!

https://www.lrc.lsa.umich.edu/translate-a-thon/

As always, if you have any questions at all, please feel free to stop by the LRC in North Quad room 1500 from 8:30a-10p M-Th, 8:30-5:30p F, and 12:30-10p Sun,  check out our website, call, or email us!

Email: umlrcfrontdesk@gmail.com

Phone: 734.647.0759

Website: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/lrc/