Shani Martin Stowaway Word Count: 2,013 The International Language Program and Why It Beats Doing a Study Abroad Study abroad. Just those words sent a jolt of excitement through my body. The chance to spend time in another country, seeing the sights and learning about the culture was an opportunity I didnâ€™t want to miss. I had heard such good things about them; however, as I began myto research them, I realized more and more how daunting the price tag was. For the spring program alone, which would last for a little over a month, there was a whopping price tag of $5,100, not including airfare, and that was on the cheap end. The more I looked into it, the more disenchanted I became. I wanted to visit new and exciting places, but I also wanted to make a difference and help people. And I wasnâ€™t going to be able to do that through a study abroad. Disheartened, I decided to give up on world travel, but then I stumbled upon the International Language Program (ILP). General Info The ILP is a wonderful alternative to a study abroad for numerous reasons. But for college students, price is the biggest issue. The program fee for the ILP is $2,520 and that includes airfare, room and board, language classes, and cultural experiences. Not only is the price half as much as a spring semester study abroad would be, but you remain in the country much longer. For the cheapest study abroad, you only get to stay in the country for a month, for the ILP you stay for at least four months, possibly longer depending on the time of year you decide to go. The available dates are include the fFall program, which is August through December;, the sSpring program, which is January to mid June;, and the sSummer program,
which is April through August. The sSummer pProgram is only applicable available for Mexico, Lithuania, Thailand, and Ukraine. For the fFall and sSpring programs, applicants also have the choice of going to Russia and China. You get to choose which program you want to do and which country you want to go toto visit. Another bonus to doing ILP, is that married couples as well as single students are encouraged and welcome to participate as well as single students. What exactly do you do? You teach kKindergarteners aged children how to speak English. Don’t worry; it’s not as difficult as it sounds. The volunteers are given teaching materials to guide the lessons prepare for every day, and are instructed in the “Duolingual Teaching” methodology that is used by ILP. In these classes, the children learn English similarly to how they learned their native languages: through interactive experiences and activitiesy while interacting with an adults. Because teachers speak only in English while they are teaching, other language skills are not required. Volunteers teach for half a school day, for five days a week., andT the rest of the time is theirs to use as they wish, either by taking language classes, by travelling, or relaxing. What you do with your spare time is up to you. To be chosen to participate in the ILP, you must fill out the applicationapply online,, schedule an interview, (which can be completed by phone or in person),, and you must submit two references. One is a character reference while and the other is an academic reference. The only qualifications they require requirements are a desire to serve children, high moral integrity, and good social skills, and performing skills. By pPerforming skills, they mean that you “need to show competence in any activity that you do in front of people; music, drama, art, dance, leadership, or speaking are skills that demonstrate this competence. Employing ILP activities in the classroom is more like leading a well-structured birthday party than teaching a class”.
Additionally, you must be willing to abide by the rules and Code of Conduct of the ILP. The Code of Conduct states that students will do the following: 1.
Abstain from alcohol, tobacco, or drugs
Abstain from romantic relationships with teammates or locals
Do not use vulgar or profane language
Obey the law
Maintain a neat appearance
Follow all rules and help other teachers do the same
If you are chosen to participate in the ILP, prior to departure, you must attend a two-day training workshop. In addition to that, there are in-service workshops led by the head teachers once you have arrived in the country. These are not mandatory, but may help you settle in more quickly and adjust to your responsibilities more easily. Meals and Housing Volunteers live with host families near the school or in “dorms.”. The host family and the school staff make up the important “support network” for volunteers. They help make the ILP experience safe and enjoyable. Host families are selected by the host schools who by useing a set of criteria given to them by the ILP. Once you arrive in the country, housing assignments are finalized. In most cases, at least two volunteers live in each dorm and one volunteer lives with each host family. Married couples are typically assigned to to cities where volunteers live in dorms, that way they can remain together, and have their own spaces. Furthermore, Mmany people are curious about communication, and want to know if they will be able to stay in touch with their friends and families back home. All of the schools have
internet access that volunteers are welcome to use, and additionally volunteers can buy calling cards to call home. Most apartments have phones in them, but some may not. Meals are arranged by the ILP and are prepared by host families, if you live with a family. If you live in the dorms,, or by thethere is a cooking staff at the schools who arrange and prepare all meals, if you live in the dorms. Generally, meals are authentic local cuisine. Be prepared to eat what the natives of the country eat. However, if you have special dietary needs, adjustments can be made to accommodate youthe ILP can accommodate you. Simply fill the area of the There is a place on the application that is provided for you towhich asks describe what any special dietary needs you may have. Teaching Methodology: Duolingual Education
Duolingual Education was developed by the late Dr. Trevor McKee, Ph.D., a professor of Human Development and Psycholinguistics at Brigham Young University. Using the Duolingual Education methodology, volunteers lead activities entirely in English with the children. In each kKindergarten class, there are six groups of six children. Each group is taught separately by each of 3-6three to six native-speaking English teachers. Each child participates in English activities in English for three3 hours a day. During this time they rotate to each of six different areas taught by different teachers. Teachers don’t teach translation or grammar rules. The learning environment is similar to a birthday party: children play games, sing songs, hear and act out stories, and similar activities. The teaching areas focus on what the children are familiar with from home. “A child may make a cake in the kitchen, assemble a doll house in shop, do tumbling in the gym, act out ‘The Three Little Pigs’ in drama and make a clay elephant in art all while
speaking English. The social environment created by exciting activities, loving teachers, and a peer group[s] is ideal for learning language” (ILP website). Safety and Medical Care Because the ILP is a service- based organization, and because volunteers are serving while they are abroad, the people whom they serve are very interested in their well-being and take very good care of the volunteers. Host families treat the volunteers as if they were part of athe family and are usually overprotective of them. School Sstaffs at the schools are very appreciative of the volunteers’ services that these volunteers are providing and are anxious to see that the volunteers have a wonderful experience while they are visiting the country. To help the volunteers navigate through the foreign country and feel safe while they are away from home, the ILP provides native, on-site coordinators that help volunteers safely enjoy their country safely as a foreigner the foreign experience. Coordinators cover our cultural blindness and help volunteers understand whichat places are safe, what is happening in the local community, which activities to be involved in or stay away fromto avoid, and how to respect local customs and traditions. “ILP follows all advisories of the U.S. State Department as well as the advice of coordinators in designing and implementing procedures for various emergency scenarios. Volunteers are registered at the nearest U.S. consulate upon arrival. ILP references several safety benchmarks to ensure the safety of current and future volunteers” (ILP website). Western medical facilities or high quality health care facilities used by foreigners and government officials provide quality care in all ILP locations. All volunteers are required to provide proof of valid health insurance prior to departure to pay the cost of any medical care needed. Outside Travel and Language Classes
ILP volunteers have several holidays when they can travel. ILP volunteers experience a foreign culture by contributing to it rather than by observing and touring. During the weekends and on local holidays, volunteers are able to take longer excursions. Once you arrive in the country, the hHead tTeacher and the nNative cCoordinators will help with travel arrangements such as how to buy tickets, where to stay, places to see, etc, as well as provide supervision and support. Volunteers must pay for any travel they take during vacations. Volunteers take informal language tutoring sessions twice a week., Iand informal culture classes are held bi-monthly and cover topics such as current events, customs, holidays, religion, cooking, education, and history. In addition to these classes, volunteers often set up their own exchanges informally. For example, a volunteer teaches a group of Chinese faculty in exchange for cooking or Kung Fu lessons. Head teachers and coordinators help to connect volunteers with people who have similar interests. (Sidebar) Safety Benchmarks taken from the ILP website: •
ILP Code of Conduct and Safety Rules: All ILP volunteers agree to abide by the ILP Code of Conduct, and Safety Rules. Our volunteers’ good judgment in abiding by these rules is their first line of defense.
Head Teachers and advisors: ILP Head Teachers are peer-age leaders who have previously taught at least one semester with ILP, who stood out as exemplary teachers, and who demonstrated good social skills and team skills. They act as “coaches” to the teams of teachers, helping with on-site teacher training, lesson plans, program finances, excursions, and group morale. Advisors are more mature volunteer leaders, often with extensive life and international experience who provide additional guidance and support in a few select ILP program locations.
Native Coordinators (Russia/Ukraine): Native Coordinators are a generation older than the volunteers, and act as the local Mom or Dad of the volunteers in each city. They are native to the country and city. They impose curfews as needed, restrict both local and long distance travel, advise about local political circumstances, and advise regarding any local situation that may affect the safety of volunteers but has not come to the attention of the media or expatriate public. They also assist with host family situations, visa support, language and culture classes, and occasionally even homesickness. Foreign affairs offices (China): In China, the Foreign Affairs staff at each school fills all the previous-mentioned responsibilities of the Native Coordinator, plus assists with any needed creature-comforts associated with food and housing in the dorms.
State Department/Embassy: Upon arrival, all volunteers are registered with the nearest American embassy or consulate, which informs them of our presence, and allows them to receive any political or travel advisories through the U.S. State Department warden system.
ILP is not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ but over 90% of our volunteers are members, and we maintain contact with missionaries and many church leaders in areas where our volunteers serve. If a mission president decides to remove their missionaries from Russia, Ukraine, or China (there are service missionaries in China) we remove our volunteers as well.
BYU and other international programs: ILP exchanges information with international programs that have students in the same locations as we do. We inquire about political or
travel advisories, as well as disease epidemics or outbreaks. (list taken from the ILP website) â€˘