Freeze Frame

Program Opens Door to World of Languages

By Andrew Boryga
Special to UM News


From left are undegraduate Chidera Nwosu, who is studying Yoruba; graduate student Sanchit Mehta, who as a program ‘partner’ teaches Hindi; and graduate student Fatma Ahmed, another partner who teaches Levantine Arabic.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 27, 2017)—What happens when a student wants to study a foreign language like Vietnamese or Dutch, but the university doesn’t offer courses in it? Where do they turn if Rosetta Stone doesn’t cut it for them?

The answer at most universities across the country isn’t always clear, but at the University of Miami, Maria Kosinski will point them to the Directed Independent Language Study (DILS) program in the College of Arts and Sciences.

DILS provides students of all majors and in any year of study with the opportunity to learn a language not offered in the course catalog. Each group of students, usually less than five, meet twice a week for an hour and are directed by native speakers known as Language Partners. Kosinski, director of DILS, said these partners are usually hired within the university or from the larger Miami community.

When the program first began 2009, DILS offered only three language choices: Haitian Creole, Levantine Arabic, and Russian. Now, students can choose from more than 30 languages, including Cantonese, Punjabi, Yoruba, and Polish. Kosinski said she is always open to expanding the list.

“If there are at least two students interested in a language, I will do my best to make sure we can offer it,” she said.

To celebrate the diversity of the program’s languages and culture, DILS students gather for DILS’ Annual International Multicultural Night. Held last Friday at the Shalala Student Center, the event showcased the diversity of the languages through dance, food, pop-culture presentations, storytelling, poetry readings, travel narratives, and more.

Maria Kozinski

If two students are interested in a language, Maria Kosinski does her best to offer it.

Kosinski said students who benefit the most from DILS are disciplined and committed to investing time into a new language. After all, the program is self-directed and students do not receive academic credit for their work—although their participation is noted on their transcripts. But even so, Kosinski insists the potential rewards can have more impact on a student’s life than a GPA score. Many DILS students end up using their new language skills to travel abroad or even work in another country, she said.

Elena Chudnovskaya, a Russian language partner, is a graduate student who joined DILS in 2014. In her weekly sessions with students, she said she focuses on helping them learn phrases and building their capacity to have conversations with each other. As a supplement to language work, she also exposes students to Russian cartoons, traditions, and typical foods.

“The purpose is to immerse the students into the Russian language and culture as much as possible,” said Chudnovskaya. “It is a great pleasure to share my culture with them.”

Jeffrey Stewart, an undergraduate completing his fourth semester in DILS, initially studied Russian to communicate better with a friend from Kazakhstan. He is now studying Egyptian and Levantine Arabic because he hopes to pursue a career where these Arab dialects are spoken.

But until then, he says, he is content to have a “much deeper appreciation for other languages and cultures, as well as a desire to be a lifelong language learner.”

And that’s the goal, according to Kosinski. “We want to give students an opportunity to immerse themselves in a program where they can learn, study, and absorb languages from all over the world. The experience is rich and students always leave with skills and new ways of thinking that can have real, positive effects on their lives and future careers.”

Posted in Freeze FrameComments Off

Essentials of Leadership Program Graduates 7th Class

02-13-17-EOL-Graduation-390Launched 2 1/2 years ago to transform University managers into leaders, the Essentials of Leadership Program (EOL) just graduated its seventh class, bringing to 385 the number of managers who are now equipped to lead people to perform at their best and drive results that make a greater impact as the U moves toward its new century.

If you’d like to become a transformational leader and make an impact on a professional and personal level, the EOL program is for you. Visit the EOL homepage for more information and view a photo gallery from the seventh graduation on February 2.


Posted in Freeze Frame, NewsComments Off

Children Explore Endless Opportunities on UM Campuses

Special to UM News

TakeChildrentoWork2University of Miami students may learn about sustainability of natural ecosystems, life-saving medical procedures, and advances in architecture from textbooks, but last Thursday more than 230 children, ages 8 to 14, experienced these fields firsthand as the U hosted its annual Take Our Children to Work Day on the Coral Gables, Miller School, and Rosentiel School campuses.

Children of UM employees participated in a full day that provided a glimpse into the many ways their parents and other employees transform lives at the U. The day on the Coral Gables campus kicked off with a warm welcome by special guest Jim Larranaga, UM men’s basketball head coach, at the Shalala Student Center. On the medical campus, parents and children started their day with an energetic pep rally led by Sebastian the Ibis and Hurricane Athletics cheerleaders at the UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center.

Once parents returned to their offices and labs, the children were divided into groups to enjoy a variety activities, which included interacting with nursing patient simulators; learning about otolaryngology; practicing their physical wellness with yoga and Zumba; and getting up close and personal with Aplysia, large sea slugs.

Explore the full range of activities the children participated in by viewing a photo gallery of the Coral Gables/RSMAS event and Miller School event.


Posted in Freeze FrameComments Off

UM Celebrates the Year of the Rooster

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 30, 2017)—From a colorful lion dance to a demonstration of Chinese calligraphy, and from a powerful drum performance to a tasty feast of Chinese cuisine, the University of Miami community celebrated Lunar New Year on Monday, joining hundreds of millions of people across Asia in marking the Year of the Rooster.

Held on the Lakeside Patio, UM’s annual observance of the holiday, which is also known as Spring Festival in China, was presented by the Asian American Students Association, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, and the Hong Kong Students Association.

Approximately a sixth of the world’s population observes Lunar New Year, with each new year associated with one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

According to Chinese astrology, if you were born in the year of the rooster, you are very observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented.

Posted in Freeze Frame, NewsComments Off

Students Honor MLK with a Day of Service

MLK Day of Service

UM students plant vegetables in the Miami Children’s Initiative’s community garden.

Adding further truth to Martin Luther King Jr.’s socially conscious statement that “everybody can be great, because anybody can serve,” more than 100 University of Miami students volunteered their time and efforts for two worthwhile causes on January 21 as part of the MLK Day of Service.

Assisted by community residents, about 40 of the students removed weeds, spread soil, and planted herbs and vegetables at the Miami Children’s Initiative’s community garden located near Charles R. Drew Elementary School in Liberty City.

Twenty miles north in Pembroke Park, a group of about 60 students packaged more than 20,000 meals at Feeding South Florida, a food bank that serves Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties.

United Black Students, Multicultural Student Affairs, and the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development sponsored the service day.

Posted in Freeze Frame, NewsComments Off

  • Features
  • Tags
  • Popular
  • Subscribe
  • Subscribe to the Veritas RSS Feed
    Get updates to all of the latest Veritas posts by clicking the logo at the right.

    You can also subscribe to specific categories by browsing to a particular section on our site and clicking the RSS icon below each section's header.

UM Facebook

UM Twitter