Speaking Internationally

Speaking Internationally

IU East offers many study abroad opportunities in countries all over the world.  These can vary in duration – some for as little as a week – and are an excellent opportunity for any student to broaden their cultural horizons.  Scholarships are also available to ensure anyone who wants such an experience can benefit from one.  Countries that have a study abroad opportunity within the next few semesters include Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, England, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Scotland, South Korea, and Spain.

In many of these places, English is not the dominant language, and participants might wish to acquire some basic language skills before embarking.  Apart from academic language classes, IU East has a number of do-it-yourself tools to help quickly pick up basic communication skills in a foreign language.  These include the Muzzy programs for French, German, and Spanish and the Michel Thomas series for French and Spanish.

When learning a new language, a respected way of picking it up is to absorb like a child would – listening to natural language spoken in a normal way.  But because an adult can seldom fully immerse in the new language to do this successfully, using films is a great substitute.  The subtitles can also be an excellent bonus – either showing you what is spoken in English if you are a neophyte, or if you have a little foundation, subtitles in the native language to help reinforce and connect reading and speaking simultaneously.

IU East offers a large, well-curated international film collection – on DVD and via streaming service databases like AVON.  For example, if preparing for an off-campus program to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, or Spain; Spanish-language films are available to suit a variety of tastes, with DVDs ranging from dramas like También la Lluvia (Even the Rain), romantic comedies like Ocho Apellidos Catalanes (Eight Catalan Surnames), or action films like Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales).  Streaming options include dramas like La Niña de Tacones Amarillos (The Girl in Yellow Heels) and action pictures like Blanco o Negro (Black or White).

More than just language, international films can help prepare a traveler with some sense of the national customs and norms.  If travelling to Spain, for example, films like Lengua de las Mariposas (Butterfly’s Tongue) or El Viaje de Carol (Carol’s Journey) might be worthwhile.  Even when preparing for an experience abroad in English-speaking countries like Belize, England or Ghana, films can help acculturate to cultural norms, and titles like The Commitments, Sankofa, or The Iron Lady may prove useful.

The library provides a guide to foreign language films here.  Seeking more international information? Ask us! iueref@iue.edu or click here:

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