If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new language, why not make this the summer you start on that goal? Upstate International offers more than 30 classes in 13 languages, from beginner to advanced, so you’re sure to find something that fits your interest and skill level.
Whether you are planning a trip to Italy, want to converse with your son’s Japanese girlfriend, work for a German company, or just want to challenge yourself with a new skill, these classes will help you meet that goal. Learning a language is great for brain development, but it’s also a great way to connect with people who speak another language. “There’s nothing more valuable or precious than speaking to someone in their language,” says Program Manager Christine Hofbauer.
Regular classes ($65 for 8 weeks) meet once a week for an hour, and intensive classes ($265) meet twice a week for 90-minute lessons. The classes are only open to members (which requires a $50 fee), but, says Hofbauer, the membership fees help keep the costs down.
All classes are taught by native speakers of the language who volunteer because they want to share their language and culture with others. In the first class session, the teachers find out what the learning goals of the students are and tailor the curriculum around those goals. With class sizes capped at 15 students, that kind of individual attention is possible. “The classes are very informal,” Hofbauer says. “There’s no homework, no testing—but it’s a really high-quality learning experience.”
The language class offerings started 20 years ago with English conversation clubs for immigrants who wanted to immerse themselves in the language and culture of their new home. From there, the offerings have expanded to include not only the popular languages like French, Spanish, and German, but also Thai, Greek, Hebrew, and American Sign Language (taught by a couple made up of a deaf husband and a hearing wife). There is even a Spanish for kids, taught at the YMCA.
If this is something you’ve been wanting to do, check out their summer course offerings and sign up for a class that will expand your world!