Both in and out of the classroom, the foreign language assistants (FLAs) support and propel students’ language acquisition, while simultaneously enhancing their cultural perspectives and connections. The benefits of Holy Cross’ distinctive FLA program are as rich and vibrant as the languages they support.
For over two decades, the departments of Modern Languages & Literatures and Spanish at Holy Cross have hosted a small group of foreign language assistants from nine different countries around the world. These advanced native-speaking students, who are chosen from Holy Cross’ study abroad sites and through Fulbright fellowships, infuse youth and vigor into the language programs and the greater Holy Cross community.
The FLAs lead small, dynamic practicum sessions for language learners, where they bring the textbook to life through interactive and communicative activities to help reinforce classrooms lessons. Outside the practicums, FLAs also play a major role in coordinating the many culturally rich extra- and cocurricular programs regularly held throughout the year, aimed to support language acquisition and cultural understanding.
This unique program greatly impacts the development of students’ language skills, but, more importantly, allows students to come into contact with the authentic and contemporary cultures of the languages they are studying. Because of this direct insight into another culture — an exchange that benefits both the students and the FLAs — students begin to analyze their own culture through the eyes of a person raised outside of the United States, consequently broadening their global perspective. Through the FLA program, students learn as much about life as they do about language.