At first, all Bethany Pinzur wanted to do was visit her friends in South Korea.
Then she received a Gilman scholarship from the Institute of International Education. The scholarship helped her to fund a semester of study in South Korea, but she had to design a service project to share her experiences when she got home.
She has been planning her project for about a year, and has designed a workshop to help native English speakers interact and communicate with people who are learning English as a second language.
“I will do a workshop targeted at English speakers who will be interacting on a semi-regular basis with people who are English speakers but whose primary language is not English,” said Pinzur, a senior Spanish and history double major. “That’s something I had to learn when I was in Korea. It was my job to talk in English to these Koreans, but they didn’t understand half of what I said.”
The program she chose was a few hours south of Seoul, at Soonchunhyan University. She selected it because it housed people from different countries together in a suite. Pinzur lived with nine Koreans, one Mexican and one Chinese.
In addition to taking five classes about Korean language and culture, Pinzur and her international roommates completed internships, speaking with their Korean roommates and other so-called conversation exchange partners for five to 10 hours a week.
“As somebody who’s studied several foreign languages, when somebody says something to me I find that if I can’t count the words, I often can’t understand what that person is saying,” the Cookeville resident said.
Speaking slowly is just one of the skills Pinzur plans to teach at her workshop, which will be interactive and activity-based. If it is successful, she says she may consider doing more in the future.
The workshop is free and open to the public. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, in the Tech Pride Room on the first floor of the Roaden University Center, 1000 N. Dixie Ave.