It is obvious why students and their parents reap once-in-a-lifetime benefits when participating in the IUHPFL experience. But how does this affect the students, teachers, and schools? What happens to the student while abroad?
Once students return from the IUHPFL experience, they are required to support their foreign language classrooms, assist teachers and mentor fellow classmates. The effect students have on the classroom cannot be underestimated, not only because of the advanced language capabilities – including placing into higher level classes in college and higher AP exam scores – but also because of the students' increased maturity.
"Students who have spent an immersion summer with the IUHPFL have a marked impact on their school which extends well beyond the classroom walls. In sharing the cultural lessons they have experienced firsthand, in conveying the obvious delight and sense of confidence gained from stretching themselves linguistically in ways unforeseen, in modeling for others the human potential for bridging the gaps of cultural misunderstanding — the individual returning to home from the IUHPFL experience induces peers and adults to open their minds and to explore, embrace and value new worlds." — Jean Hitchcock, Spanish Teacher at Signature School in Evansville and IUHPFL alum, St. Brieuc
Forging New Connections
IUHPFL students return with a heightened sense of awareness for themselves and their surroundings, willing and able to understand other students and foreign cultures. They have grown more mature and confident. They have become leaders.
"I've seen, firsthand, the enthusiasm that students returning from a summer abroad bring back — and the seemingly contagious effect it has on others. Students who previously had not found a way to personally connect with school culture return with a deep respect for not only other cultures, but a newfound one for ours, as well. These kids seem to internalize the power of not only language, but education as a whole, and what these tools can do to help a person to achieve. After a summer in Mexico or Spain, my students are aching to talk to me, to others, to themselves (when necessary) about music, culture, the language, the food — and this makes other students want to participate in the program. Our students pride themselves with being 'international', and IUHPFL helps students who normally may never get to leave the U.S. to experience the bigger picture." — Jennifer Dettlo, Spanish Teacher at Munster High School and IUHPFL alum, San Luis Potosí