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2014 Super Summer Giveaway Contest!

SSGEnter to win a full two-week summer program scholarship! Participants will need to submit an original 60 second commercial advertising travel to a country or an event taking place in that country. Choose a country that speaks the target language of your preferred Language Village. Invite your friends, family and teachers to help you with ideas and maybe even star in your video! Be creative and good luck!

2012 Super Summer Giveaway contest winner!


The video
•    cannot be longer than 60 seconds
•    should contain a language other than your native language, but is not required
•    must be “rated G” – this is a family program!
•    must be thoughtful, interesting, and creative
•    must be mindful of inappropriate cultural stereotypes

Directions for submission: 
After creating your video, post it to YouTube and submit only the url on the form, with the appropriate information completed. Submissions will be accepted through April 1, 2014. Finalists will then be selected by an internal committee and a winner will be selected through a public voting process.

This contest is for a two-week session for the summer of 2014 and is open to new and returning villagers.  If you have already enrolled for summer 2014, you are still eligible to participate in this contest and your tuition will be refunded.

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Alumni Profiles: Meet Marty

Fankhanel_01“Learn what you want to learn – whatever language it is, whatever science or idea – go after it with your genuine curiosity.”

This is the advice Marty Fankhanel would give to the many young Concordia Language Villages participants, stemming from his family’s culture of volunteerism and Marty’s own interest in learning and sharing on a global level.

An alum of Waldsee, where he is known as Jost; Les Voyageurs and Lac du Bois, where he is known as Ludo; and Concordia College, Marty is preparing for another journey to share the skills and passion he has acquired through his time at Concordia Language Villages and while growing up in a family with a deep belief in volunteerism, he took some time to share his hopes for what his 27 month service with the Peace Corps will bring.

Knowing he will be deployed to Albania, he will be teaching in some capacity. In preparation, has been substitute teaching in language classrooms, working with Concordia Language Villages’ Village Weekend programs, and plans to draw on his experiences and knowledge gained while working at the villages to both teach and learn.

Before his actual deployment, he will partake in an intensive language and culture course to lessen the culture shock he might experience trying to acclimate to a new way of life while allowing him to communicate and bond with his colleagues. Marty is confident he will be able to use many of the teaching principles Concordia Language Villages counselors utilize on a daily basis. Whether following the Waldsee mantra of always having a plan and keeping enthusiasm when that plan doesn’t quite work out, or implementing the interactive method of teaching language proficiency through reading and storytelling (TPRS) that is prolific throughout the Villages, many of his skills will certainly be necessary!

Fankhanel_02When asked why he felt so strongly about volunteering his time and skills in communities around the world, Marty pointed to his family. From a very young age, he recalls his parents encouraged their children to serve in their communities, to fill the need both locally and globally by giving their time, money or skills where they could.

Leading by example, Pastor Stuart and Judy Fankhanel were involved in Stuart’s ministry, sharing their time, expertise and passion both locally and abroad. So it comes as no great surprise that Marty recently served as Team Leader in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).  Of his experience in AmeriCorps NCCC, he says it “solidified the simplicity of service.” Now taking this next step and serving on a global level, Marty knows whatever expectations he may have for his time with the Peace Corps in Albania, he will be the student for the majority of his service instead of the teacher. Yet another aspect of studying and living abroad, he will be learning from his students, host families, mentors and community. Marty will have the opportunity to share language, life experiences and his curiosity for the all the possibilities a new culture can bring.




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It’s all fun and games until someone learns a language

Sebastian (right) using Village realia alongside fellow cohorts.

Sebastian (right) using Village realia alongside fellow cohorts.

Many students may not believe words like “enjoyment” and “relaxation” have any place within the confines of school and education. Yet genuine learning can often come most naturally when in a state of play.

“It has been established that the enjoyment and relaxation games bring are powerful allies of language acquisition,” says Sebastian Rodriguez Melgarejo.

As part of the 2011 Master of Education in World Language Instruction cohort, Sebastian researched and wrote about the design and implementation of games used to enhance second language acquisition.

“I developed a curriculum for an after school program that, even though it has many components, uses games as an essential piece of the program,” said Sebastian. In the course of his language instruction study, he wanted to explore the use of ludic activities as tools for motivation and language learning while simultaneously demonstrating how the integrity of formal academic standards could be met through the use of games designed with sound pedagogical reasoning.

“While developing my program,” said Sebastian, “I observed that my students appreciate a more ludic environment after they have been at school all day.”

Utilizing the participants in his after-school program, Sebastian observed student interactions during games and collected perceptual information from the students after they completed the games.

The fascinating results to his experiment as well as the in-depth details to his process can be found in Sebastian’s thesis, Games and Second Language Acquisition in an After-School Program.

For more information about the Master of Education in World Language Instruction program from Concordia College, visit the program page after the link.

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OMRON SCHOLARSHIPS For Japanese Available

OmronThanks to a generous grant from OMRON, Concordia Language Villages and Mori no Ike, the Japanese Language Village, is excited to announce that we will once again be offering scholarships for Chicago-area public school students interested in a Japanese cultural and language immersion experience.  OMRON is a global leader in the field of automation with over 35,000 full-time employees working in over 35 countries around the world. Beginning with their first product in 1933 – a high-precision x-ray timer – OMRON has carried out constant technological innovation in an increasingly diverse range of automation-related fields.

OMRON was founded by Kazuma Tateisi who turned a small relay factory into OMRON, a leader in technology. An inventor and innovator, Mr. Tateisi was committed to monozukuri, the art of making things, as well as effective business management.  The origin of the name “OMRON” can be found in “Omuro,” the district where Mr. Tateisi first set up shop in Kyoto, Japan.

In fiscal year 2012, OMRON’s community involvement expenditures totaled 507 million yen, targeting a wide range of fields, including science and technology, social welfare, and disaster aid, in addition to each site’s individually organized social contribution programs.  Concordia Language Villages is proud to partner with OMRON to increase Japanese-American cross-cultural understanding.

Chicago-area public school students interested in applying for the OMRON scholarship should register for a Japanese summer youth program and use the Passport Fund application to apply.

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Nametag Photo Contest 2014!

NametagsAs we begin our countdown to summer 2014, Concordia Language Villages would like to start off the season with our annual Nametag Photo Contest.

The rules are simple:
  1. Submit a photo of yourself wearing your nametag by February 20 using this form.
  2. On February 24, the submissions will be revealed in an album on our Concordia Language Villages Facebook page.
  3. This year all of the voting will take place on our Facebook page and between the dates of February 24 and March 5.
  4. Winners will be announced on March 10 and are determined by the number of “likes” received on their photo. So be sure to tell all of your friends!

If you are new to the Villages, or cannot find your nametag, feel free to get creative and make a nametag of your own.

The grand prize winner will receive a 5th Generation 16 GB iPod Touch. Second place will receive a 16 GB Kindle Fire HDX 7″ Tablet, and third place will receive a 7th Generation16GB Apple iPod Nano.

Good luck, and enjoy the slideshow of last year’s finalists!



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3 Scholarship Opportunities Available for Minnesota Residents

  1. Office of Higher Education: Minnesota residents in grades 3-11 who qualify for free or reduced lunch are eligible for $1000 Office of Higher Education scholarships for ALL Concordia Language Villages sessions. Click here to learn how to apply.
  2. QFI Scholars: Need-based scholarships for the Arabic Language Village are available thanks to a generous grant from the Qatar Foundation International. Scholarship amounts range from 10% to 85% of tuition based on the applicant’s adjusted gross income and session length. Applicants must complete the online Passport Fund application, submit the required supporting documentation, and register for an Arabic summer youth immersion session to be eligible.
  3. Simone Scholarship: Need-based scholarships for the Korean Language Village are available thanks to a generous grant from the Simone Corporation. Scholarship amounts range from 10% to 85% of tuition based on the applicant’s adjusted gross income and session length. Applicants must complete the online Passport Fund application, submit the required supporting documentation, and register for a Korean summer youth immersion session to be eligible.

Please share this news with Minnesota friends and relatives who you think may be interested in experiencing a Concordia Language Villages program this summer!

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Arabic Language Scholarships Available for Youth

QFI_logo2We are pleased to announce that Concordia Language Villages has again received funding from the Qatar Foundation International (QFI) in support of the QFI Scholars program at Al-Wāḥa, the Arabic Language Village.

Scholarships are need-based. Please use the Passport Fund application form and indicate Arabic as your language of choice. Please contact for further information. No previous Arabic experience is required – this opportunity is ideal for a student interested in making a strong start in a new and important world language.

Concordia Language Villages has been a leader in language and culture residential programs for over 50 years and launched Al-Wāḥa eight years ago with support from the US Department of State. Each summer over 4000 youth participate in Language Villages immersion programs in 15 languages in northern Minnesota.

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Daniel (left) with other members of his cohort.

Daniel (left) with other members of his cohort.

When communicating with people from other cultures, it is not uncommon to assume that the only barrier to communication is the language itself. However, the nuance of communication that is inherent within the target culture is often ignored or assumed to be one and the same with the language itself. Daniel McGrath, a member of Concordia College’s 2011 Master of Education in World Language Instruction cohort, recognized this.

“The assumption has always existed that cross-cultural awareness is an automatic byproduct of second language study,” says Daniel, “but we know that this is not the case. Exposure to second language study does not necessarily lead to greater cross-cultural sensitivity. Significant and deliberate steps must be taken to properly address the importance of recognizing distinct cultural behavior and attitudes. “

In his thesis, BUT THAT’S NOT HOW WE DO IT!; Cultural simulations and the challenge of teaching cross-cultural sensitivity in the World Language Classroom, Daniel analyzes how the utilization of cultural classroom simulations can help bridge this gap of miscommunication within the second-language classroom.

To learn more about Daniel’s approach and findings, read BUT THAT’S NOT HOW WE DO IT!; Cultural simulations and the challenge of teaching cross-cultural sensitivity in the World Language Classroom.

For more information about the Master of Education in World Language Instruction program from Concordia College, visit the program page after the link.

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Share Your Pride!

Do you find yourself missing those long summer days at Concordia Language Villages? If you constantly talk about the amazing experiences you had at Concordia Language Villages, let us send you some swag to show off your pride! – Help spread the word about our Summer Programs and receive this Concordia Language Villages Euro car sticker in the mail!

Print this poster and hang copies in your local coffee shop, apartment building or neighborhood community center. Once you’ve proudly hung all your posters, please share with us where you’ve posted them!

You can either email your photo to or post to Facebook using the hashtag #clvalumni to catch our attention!

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Alumni Profiles: Meet Katja

Former villager and current staff member at Waldsee, Kate Katja Bussert attends Wellesley College and works in its theater department as a jack-of-all-trades. She does everything from building sets to directing productions, purchasing lumber and balancing budgets. Katja also has a long history with theater at Concordia Language Villages.

While attending German classes at the Germanic-American Institute’s Saturday School in St.Paul, Minn., nine-year-old Katja came across a brochure for Waldsee and begged her mother to allow her to attend. Katja found the perfect combination of the three things she loved in Waldsee’s Märchenwald program for experienced German speakers: theater, King Arthur and German.

As the years passed, her language skills grew alongside her love of the theater. Many villagers who attend Concordia Language Villages’ programs as young children transition to a high school credit program at the age of fourteen.  For Katja, the financial burden this would cause meant such a program was likely out of the question.  But through the generosity of donors and the caring staff who knew her so well, Katja was nominated for and was awarded a Max Kade Foundation scholarship.

Bussert_02Katja remembers the day that she realized that she might be able to attend Waldsee with the help of a scholarship.  It was her very first day of high school.  Even though the first day of ninth grade is overwhelming for most students, Katja’s day went well. After school her volleyball team won their match, and to top it all off her mother was there to see the game. Such a great day couldn’t possibly get any better.  But when her mother told her that there was an opportunity for a scholarship to Waldsee, she burst into tears of joy!

It wouldn’t be the first year that Katja had a three-hundred day countdown to camp.  It also wouldn’t be the last year she earned a scholarship.  But that first summer attending a four-week credit program would prove to be an amazing summer.  It was that summer that would catapult her into the apprentice program and ultimately onto staff where she would have the chance to work with the people who had seen such potential in a lovely, enthusiastic young person.

Katja hopes to study abroad in Oxford next year and has credited much of her mentality about not feeling limited, for any reason, to the wonderful experiences she has had at Concordia Language Villages. As she so aptly put it, “The point of CLV is to learn a language. If you’re committed to that dream, somehow it will just work out!”

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