Language Boot Camp Draws High Schoolers to North Georgia
by Trevor Williams
August 5, 2011
A three-week program launched this summer at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega gave bright students from 17 states a chance to dive into one of three languages in high demand from the U.S. foreign service and military: Arabic, Chinese and Russian.
More than 350 students applied for two three-week sessions of the Foreign Service Foreign Language Academy. Only 96 were selected for the intensive, federally funded program.
The summer program was designed to forge a pipeline of students for these growing programs while promoting broader interest in language education, said John Wilson, assistant director of North Georgia's Center for Language Education and a primary organizer of the program.
"The United States desperately needs language speakers in so many instances," Dr. Wilson said. "There's a drastic shortage of Arabic and Russian language speakers throughout the world. We can't find enough to maintain our security interests, and the business interest is the same. We need more proficient language speakers."
International companies have repeatedly said that speaking another language gives candidates a leg up on competitors for internships and jobs, Dr. Wilson added.
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