Green Bay Middle School Visits UW-Madison!

by Dr. Nancy Heingartner, IRIS Assistant Director for Outreach

The Aldo Leopold Community School is a K-8 school in Green Bay that serves over six hundred students.

On May 7, 2018, 175 ALCS middle-school students and 10 teachers came to campus for a customized 4-hour program. Organized by Nancy Heingartner, IRIS Assistant Director for Outreach, this “International Introduction to UW-Madison” provided a variety of hands-on (and feets-on) activities. After learning to sing a traditional Russian children’s song (in Russian), the students broke into groups and attended four 10-minute-long mini language lessons. In all, 8 different languages were featured: Finnish, Japanese, Kichwa, Norwegian, Swahili, Tamil, Vietnamese, and Zulu. This was followed by a study-abroad panel discussion. Four undergraduates, who had studied abroad in four different countries, each spoke for five minutes about the highlights of their experiences abroad.

May 7, 2018 was a glorious spring day in Madison! After the study-abroad panel, the ALCS group had an hour-long lunch on the terrace of the Memorial Union. Returning fully energized from lunch, they were then treated to a demonstration of the traditional Javanese (Indonesia) peacock dance. Mailani Kamilah, a visiting Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant, captured the audience’s attention with her beautiful costume and graceful movements. A short, interactive presentation, entitled, “Why Study A Language?,” was next. To wrap up the program, Thet Oo Khine, a visiting Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant from Myanmar, demonstrated a traditional New Year’s dance and taught the group how to perform it.

According to the lead teacher organizer of this endeavor, “We spent yesterday talking about how much the kids loved the trip. Of course, lunch on the Terrace was [one] their favorites, but they all had amazing things to say about the language lessons and the performances and study abroad experiences. They really think it would be a great thing to do again and they all wish they could have seen all the languages. :)” The International Introductions program is an initiative of Dr. Heingartner who does her best to accommodate the request of any school located more than two hours’ drive from Madison.