The program is funded in part by a $500,000 grant scholarship from the National Endowment for the Humanities American rescue plan to support the economic recovery of cultural and educational institutions.
Lisa MontoyaUTSA Vice President for Global Initiatives and Senior International Manager, Nathan RichardsonAssociate Dean of COLFA and Director of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and Sean KellyDean of UTSA Honors College, are co-Principal Investigators of the program.
“We are thrilled to launch this new program which provides members of our community with global perspectives while helping them achieve their fundamental goal of improving a language,” Montoya said. “The language faculty and activity coordinators provide a fun and engaging international experience right here in San Antonio.”
Language classes are held each morning in the North Paseo building on UTSA’s main campus. Afternoon programs include cultural activities ranging from cooking to music and dancing, films, virtual tours of major cities and cultural destinations, games and cultural traditions.
On Thursdays, groups take excursions across town to experience San Antonio through a global lens. Excursions include special presentations by the City of San Antonio’s Office of Global Engagement at the Gwanju Pavilion in Denman Estate Park, Kumamoto En at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, and Plaza de las Islas Canarias in the downtown main plaza. town.
Students also have the opportunity to learn about Japanese sumi-e ink painting at the Institute of Texas Cultures, shop at a Korean and Japanese market, learn about international innovation in Port San Antonio, to visit the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, to visit the Mexican Cultural Institute and the Korean American Cultural Center of San Antonio.
Student at UTSA Daniel Rodriguez, a junior specializing in modern languages, is part of SALA’s Japanese immersion experience. Already fluent in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, Rodriguez was drawn to the program’s informal and immersive structure.
He is amazed at how much his Japanese has improved over the three week course.
“At first I was nervous about making mistakes, but I realized very quickly that everyone is here to learn, have a good time and support each other,” he said. he declares. “I was shocked at my own abilities and gained so much confidence.”