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Davis United World College Scholars

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To Broaden and Deepen Language Learning

Growing up in a Brazilian family that had many international friends, João Cipolla Baltazar (UWC Adriatic, Amherst ’16) has been interested since elementary school in other cultures — and by the time of his Amherst graduation, he spoke five languages. He was quickly snapped up by the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages, a close neighbor of the college, where he’s now a postbaccalaureate specialist for innovative language learning.

“I’m part of a committee that reviews proposals submitted by faculty members at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst to develop projects that aim to have more students learning languages and at greater depth,” João writes. “I also work as a conversation partner assistant at the Five College Center, where students from the five colleges can learn more than 40 less-commonly taught languages.”

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the center engages conversation partners who are native speakers. João does various duties for that part of the program, and he works with language faculty at the five colleges to organize language pedagogy seminars every semester.

“Now that I’m here,” he adds, “I really want to learn all these languages! I work with people from Turkey, Kenya, Iran, Romania. It’s nice having an international atmosphere.”