New language courses being offered

Steven Barnum, Assistant News Editor

In an encouraging educational development, Western Illinois University will be adding additional foreign language classes to the mix come the fall of 2018.

The Fulbright Foundation, with the financial support of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, will be sending two Foreign Language Teaching Assistants termed “FLTAs” to Western next semester.

Western, which currently offers courses in just Spanish and French, will now give students the option of signing up for Russian and Arabic courses, too. Excited about the opportunity is Jeff Hancks, who is the executive director of School of Distance Learning, International Studies, and Outreach.

“Knowledge of these languages is increasingly beneficial to students in many disciplines, especially those interested in government, military and law enforcement careers,” Hancks said, “I hope this is the beginning of a long relationship with the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program in our ongoing efforts to internationalize our campus and community.”

Over the last 17 years, more than 3,000 participants of the FLTA program have had the opportunity to teach in the U.S., which has allowed more than 80,000 students to learn more about foreign language and culture.

With an increase in funding and offering languages that are uncommon, the FLTA program is now used in over 50 countries around the world and helps teach over 30 languages. Demand for certain languages will come and go, and this program will give Western the chance to change its foreign language offerings on a yearly basis.

Also pleased the program has made its way to Western is Foreign Languages and Literature Chair Luciano Picanco, whose task will focus on the academics of the teachers’ visits.

“We are very lucky to be part of a select group of universities that work with the Fulbright Foundation/Department of State (ECA) to receive these young ‘ambassadors’ of different languages and cultures.”