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Transitions Abroad Magazine May/June 2005 Vol. XXVIII, NO. 6

Information Exchange

Traveler’s Almanac

Abroad at Home
Sweden's Midsummer Sharon Palmer;
Mexican Hot Chocolate Andrea Calabretta

Interview
Edward Trimnell: Why You Need a Foreign Language Sherry Schwarz

Immersion Travel
Hiking the Pyrenees Beth Kohn
Trinidad's Back Roads Alison Gardner
Painting in France Sarah Massey
Paris Long Term Carol Perehudoff
Berlin’s Coffeehouses Carla Waldemar
After Trip, Throw a Party Jeff Goldman
Naples’ Volcano Oasis Paul Rowlands

Back Door Travel
Affordable Scandinavia Rick Steves

Immersion Travel - Latin America
2005 Latin America Trip Planner Ron Mader
Explore a Reef Hideaway Daniel Gabriel
A Tale of Two Islands Brendan Sainsbury
Love in Argentina Andrea Gourgy
Bus Travel in Panama Darrin DuFord
Preserving Pink Flamingos Gerhard Buttner
Conserving Sea Turtles Jodi Helmer
Family Travel: Toddler Travel in the Yucatan Tim Leffel
Vacation and Volunteer on a Mexican Ranch Tim King
A Waterfall Lover’s Paradise Michele Peterson

Working Traveler
Volunteering in Africa Brendan Sainsbury
Teaching in Cameroon Brian Johnson
ESL Teaching in Russia Robert Leitch
Working in Guatemala Gabriel Stein

International Careers
Freelance Translators: You Can Take It With You Tegan Cathleen Raleigh

Language Immersion

Worldwide Language Immersion Resources Edward Trimnell

Spanish Through the Senses Linda McDonnell
Language Study in Nicaragua Joshua Berman
Spanish for Educators Anita Ensmann
Learn Spanish in Antigua Robert A. Dunton
Head West for Spanish Immersion Donia Lilly
Spanish Study in Seville Volker Poelzl
Study in Costa Rica Kelly Matlock
Study in Ecuador Heather Wynn
Learn Chinese in Taiwan Joshua K. Hartshone
Italian Immersion Leah M. Cano
Learn Languages Cheap Tyler Martin
To Learn a Culture, Learn the Language Liz Hearn
Study in Tunisia Rose Waters
Overcoming Language Study Plateaus Edward Trimnell
Speaking Croatian Jennifer Baljko
Learn French in France Sharon Goldstein

71 Living Abroad
Bicultural Living Christine Louise Hohlbaum
Wannabe an Expatriate? Doug Bower

72 Education Abroad
Study in Finland Zachary Sorrells
Independent Grants Greg Lestikow

74 Program News & Notes

76 Marketplace

78 Classifieds

80 Transitions Abroad
Pollo, Por Favor James Citron

From the Editor

While many of our readers are multilingual and use their language skills for traveling, working, and living abroad, Americans generally are far behind the rest of the developed world in foreign language proficiency. According to the Census Bureau, only 9.3 percent of Americans speak both their native language and another language fluently, compared with 52.7 percent of Europeans. Enrollment in foreign language classes at American universities has fallen from 16 percent in 1960 to 8 percent in 2002, according to the American Council on Education. The average number of languages spoken by American business executives is 1.4, compared with an average of 3.9 by business executives in The Netherlands, according to a 2002 survey from Healthy Companies International.

Monolinguism is not just inconvenient; it can be deadly. After September 11 the Justice Department reported a backlog of untranslated documents and recordings that might have prevented the terrorist attacks had there been more qualified linguists in the U.S. And a March 7, 2005 U.S. News & World Report article, entitled "When Banter Beats Bullets," says that American officers in Iraq are finding that while they were trained on infantry tactics and on leading soldiers into battle, they were not prepared for the crucial challenge of human interaction.

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), www.actfl.org, has developed a campaign to combat America’s monolingualism by promoting the benefits and importance of foreign language learning. ACTFL’s members—who include teachers, educators, and language professionals—facilitate dialogue between education leaders and policy makers and support research on language learning in the U.S.

Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) supported the ACTFL in calling public attention to our nation’s “language deficit.” They helped to sponsor a resolution making 2005 “The Year of Languages in the United States.” Government, business, and higher education leaders nationwide are now working together to host community and national events each month—such as teleconferences, panel discussions, and language festivals.

Transitions Abroad celebrates The Year of Languages with an extended Language Immersion resource section to complement the many language program participant reports published annually in the May/June issue. Compiling this section is Edward Trimnell, author of Why You Need a Foreign Language and How to Learn One. You can read our interview with Edward about the advantages of learning other languages.

This issue’s Language Immersion articles cover in-country Chinese, Croatian, French, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish language study, along with many tips for beginners to advanced foreign language learners. This special section's writers remind us that the importance of learning languages—issues of national security, economic growth, and global interdependence aside—is ultimately about opening the door to another culture and connecting directly with its people.

Even a month-long course or a week-long language vacation can give you insight into and appreciation for another way of life—not to mention a potential leg up in business or a skill for landing an international job such as freelance translation (see Tegan Cathleen Raleigh's article).

We are lucky to have native speakers of other languages on staff. Our new designer, Nashima Gokani, hails from The Netherlands, and our office manager, Claudia Ricci Hansen, is from Brazil. I’ve already learned at least enough to sign off with “Tot later” or “Até logo.”

Sherry Schwarz

Publisher and Editor
Sherry Schwarz

Founding Editor and Publisher
Dr. Clay A. Hubbs

Contributing Editors
Alison Gardner (Senior Travel)
Susan Griffith (Work)
Cynthia Harriman (Family Travel)
Zahara Heckscher (Volunteering)
Ron Mader (Ecotourism and Latin America)
Deborah McLaren (Responsible Travel)
Bill Mohan (Teen Travel)
Edward Trimnell (Language Immersion)
William Nolting (International Education and Work)
Volker Poelzl (Living)
Rob Sangster (Independent Travel)
Rick Steves (Budget Travel)
Tracy Scharn and Pamela Houston (Disability Travel)
Kathy Widing (Travel Books)

Design
Nashima Gokani

Office Manager
Mary Catherine Maxwell

Advertising Manager
Kate McGrail

Office Manager
Claudia Ricci

Intern
Julia Rosen

Cover
Ryan Fox - R. Fox Photography
Guatemalan girl at a traditional market in the city of San Francisco El Alto, near Quetzaltenango.

Mission Statement
Founded in 1977, Transitions Abroad is the only publication dedicated to work, study, living, and immersion travel abroad. Its purpose is the dissemination of practical information leading to a greater understanding of other cultures through direct participation in the daily life of the host community.