The Clark University Language Exchange Program (CULEP) connects members of the Clark community who are looking to practice or improve their language skills with language partners. ALCI’s language experts match participants with a partner (or group) to “trade” languages: participants learn a new language with a partner while also teaching their native tongue.
“While learning a new language, frozen expressions (a group of words standing in a fixed association) are really important,” Ercan Balci, Assistant Director of ALCI and the Program’s founder, said. Inspired by his love of languages and noticing a gap in the offering of this type of program at Clark, Balci decided to design a program where Clark students, faculty, and staff could benefit and learn new language skills. “Ideally, you would want to learn a language from a professional or a language teacher with a PhD, but sometimes learning from a native speaker is great because you can ask them questions like, ‘Oh how do you say that if I go to Russia? How can I greet people?’ So that’s how I got the idea, which is not new because so many other schools already do it…so we’re just modifying it for Clark,” said Balci.
The program offers a great learning and community-building experience to participants and allows partners to learn at their own pace and set their own schedules. Nikita Nur, a graduate student from Russia and CULEP participant looking to improve his English skills, appreciates that the program helps him to “feel more confident because I can share information about my culture and learn something new from my partner. I can use this exchange program not only for learning English, but also for my future activities and goals. My partner helps me prepare for mock interviews. We share suggestions, travel about campus, eat at a few locations, and then talk about it and describe them in Russian.”
If you are interested in learning a new language or improving your skills in a specific language, CULEP is open to all members of the Clark community and is accepting participants on a rolling basis. To learn more about the program and how to join, visit the Language Exchange Program website.