Albright College Partnering with Chilean University on Cross-Cultural Project to Connect Students Thousands of Miles Apart
April 12, 2017
Reading, Pa. – A group of Albright College students is participating in a project to connect American and Chilean college students, to foster greater understanding between the groups, and to help Chilean students learn English.
The project, “Art of the English Language Interview: Voices for Global Communication,” is sponsored by Universidad Arturo Prat (UNAP) in Iquique, Chile, in partnership with Albright Spanish Professor Karen Jogan, Ph.D.
Last November, advanced English language students from UNAP conducted and recorded videoconference interviews with nine Albright students about their daily lives as college students, their classes and professors, their family life, hobbies and interests, career plans, and even views on death.
On April 11, project organizer Hernan Pereira, an English language professor at UNAP, and Carolina Astudillo, director of the translation program at UNAP and a photographer, visited Albright to meet and photograph the nine students who were interviewed. Those photographs and interviews will be transcribed and incorporated into a book designed to help English language learners in Chile.
“The project aims to connect Chilean university students with their counterparts, and to highlight similarities and differences in university life,” said Jogan. “It is hoped that the authentic voice of our Albright students will resonate with university students abroad, and serve as a motivator for students learning English as a foreign language.”
The planned book will be published in a limited run, and made available online as a free resource for English teachers in Chile. Holy Family University Professor Roger Gee, Ph.D., graduate division chair and TESOL program coordinator, is collaborating on the design of instructional materials based on the interview texts.
The project is funded through an Award for Innovation in Teaching from UNAP, for which faculty members apply in an annual competition. Pereira had previously worked with Jogan on a project, and reached out about interviewing some of her students. Jogan has also partnered with UNAP on other projects.
Pereira said the project is providing UNAP students with authentic English language material. “It tests their proficiency in a real context and with real people,” he said.
And Jogan said the Albright students are learning about Chilean culture.
Albright senior Alyssa Francis, one of the students interviewed, said it is “exciting to be part of a cross-cultural experience. Because I am studying Spanish and the Chilean students are studying English, we mutually understood the struggles of speaking in another language, which helped create a comfortable environment for the interview.”
Albright senior Erin North-Mozda, also interviewed for the project, hopes that the Chilean students “find that while we may come from different places and may lead different lives, we may not be so different, and that our differences should be what brings us together in the end.”
Jogan said the hope is to conduct a similar project in the future but in reverse, with Albright Spanish language students conducting the interviews.