To learn more about this unique opportunity, we chatted with two DIS employees currently enrolled in a French class: admissions department assistant Thiri Caplinger and director of development Helena Banks.
What originally interested you in taking a class with the Language Institute?
HB: As a new employee of DIS, everyone around me was speaking French, including the small children! My work environment is multilingual, so I should be too.
TC: The teachers and the environment got me really interested in taking a class. The teachers are mostly native speakers and very helpful. Learning different languages in a multicultural environment is a really encouraging thing.
What has been the best part of your experience in the class? The most challenging part?
HB: The best part of class was working with Homa, our instructor, on making connections between words in French and how they impact my daily life. For example, I’m also a ballet instructor and I speak French ballet terms all the time. Now I have a better understanding of where those words and phrases come from. The most difficult part has been conjugating irregular verbs. In English, I can get by with what sounds right. Because of my southern drawl, nothing sounds right when I say it!
TC: The feeling that I know a little more in each class has been the best part of my experience. The most challenging part would be memorizing the definition of words. I hope I can make more time to study at home. After a long day at work, I can’t possibly think of studying.
How do you feel the Language Institute class differs from other language classes or training that you may have done in the past?
HB: Taking this class was voluntary. Everyone who participated had a thirst for learning and we were committed to attending. It’s the first time I wasn’t taking a language for a grade.
TC: The Language Institute has more of a family vibe that any other class that I have taken.
Do you plan on continuing your classes with the Language Institute?
HB: I definitely plan on continuing with my class. Those few weeks showed me that I have a lot more to learn.
TC: I would love to! I believe in my teacher and I believe that my teacher can help me improve my French. I’m going to have to put extra effort in on my end, too.
What is the most important lesson you’ve taken away from the class?
HB: I believe in lifelong learning and I have an incredible opportunity here at DIS: working with native speakers who don’t mind me practicing my new skills and laughing with me when I butcher it.
TC: Learning languages challenges your brain in a certain way and I think we should never stop our brain from working. It can be quite challenging, but it is also very rewarding once you see the progression and once you comprehend the way people interact with each other in a different language other than your own.
To learn more about the Language Institute and sign up for a class, click here.