Applied Language Studies (APPLS) welcomed back APPLS alumni to share how APPLS courses impacted their careers and academic paths. Coordinator of the APPLS minor, Julia Williams, organizes this semi- annual event. “This is a fun event for current APPLS students and for the returning alumni too. Current students are really interested in talking with the alumni and finding out how the APPLS courses influenced their study and work decisions post-graduation.” This year, five alumni returned to talk with APPLS students.
Currently teaching introductory French courses, graduate student Taylor Valnion attributes APPLS to “opening my mind and perspectives to language and linguistics. Getting a hands on experience with lesson plans and assessment helped me to feel comfortable in a teaching environment.”
Tessa Smits enrolled in APPLS to prepare her for teacher’s college. In her Second Language Acquisition course she was paired with an international student. What started off as meetings for an assignment later blossomed into cross-cultural friendship. Years later, Smits still keeps in contact with her conversation partner, stating this experience allowed her to “become sensitive to culture and languages. It helped me see different backgrounds and how culture is tied to identity.”
Majoring in French, Louann Nhan is an immigration advisor and organizes the growing conversation partner program at Renison. Nhan states, “APPLS showed me the multifaceted issues of language learning. From identity to grammatical errors, it’s something I keep in mind when pairing English language learners with UW students.”
Mehrnoush Mohammadi, currently teaching English for Multilingual Speakers (EMLS) courses in English Language Studies at the University of Waterloo, and Yana Kuzma, who just returned from teaching in China, were also at the event. They shared information about their teaching experiences with interested students.
The APPLS minor focuses on the application of second language theories to the practice of learning and teaching second languages. For more information, visit the APPLS website.