From the Journal: Junior travels to foreign country to learn language

In 100 short days, junior Emma Arndt will be boarding a plane to a destination that is 5,146 away from her home. Arndt will be going to Viña del Mar, Chile for six weeks in the summer, but where she will be staying, it’s going to be winter time. She says that the winter in Chile is around 60 degrees, which is not that bad.

Arndt is going on this trip through the Indiana University Honors Program for Foreign Language. The IUHPFL is a six-week study abroad program for Indiana high school students. It is a combination of academic instruction, a mandatory Language Commitment to speak only in the foreign language while abroad. Students are with a host family full time, which allows them to participate in the total experience. She got introduced to this program from presentations that are given at the beginning of the year. Arndt started taking Spanish when she was in sixth grade and is currently in Spanish IV.

“I think it is going to be hard to be there for awhile,” Arndt said. “ Because I have to use the language and live with a host family, it’s going to be different.”

In order to get into this program students has to take a placement test. Arndt application was turned in late, but based on her test score, they accepted her after they saw her application. Most students are required to complete an interview also, but she did not have too.

Arndt takes off to Chile on June 6 and is scheduled to return on July 28. This is her first time leaving the country, let alone going without her parents. Arndt says that she doesn’t know how she is going to do it without her parents being with her. She said it is going to be hard not talking to them everyday because with the program, students only get an hour of internet a week.

“I’m not sure how often we are allowed to call our parents because they want us to use the language,” Arndt said. “The first time something gets hard I’m going to want to call home.”

She hopes that the family she is staying with has some type of animal that she can cuddle with when she gets lonely and misses home. Arndt plans to write a lot of letters throughout her time in Chile and will send many postcards because she says when she wants to talk to someone she won’t be able to actually talk to them, she will have to write it down. Before she was positive on going, she says her parents said it was a good idea and a good opportunity, and she says she really likes Spanish, so she made the decision by herself.

Though she will be living with a host family, she will be seeing historical sites and exploring with mentors and the other students staying in Viña del Mar. Time will be spent many different ways. The students will venture to La isla Negra, Santiago, The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art and Reñaca Alto. Where she will be staying at is right by the coast and is more of a tourist spot, but near her is a more traditional city.

When Arndt comes back home she says that she will be more well-rounded with the culture of a different country and place. Right now, she says, her Spanish isn’t the greatest, but by the time she gets back she will be much better.

“I will probably have an hour long conversation with Mrs. O’Connor because she went to the same city I am going to,” Arndt said. “So, when I come back she will probably talk to me so much.”`