At the beginning and at the end of each Concordia LTC iso-immersion experience, each student completes an OPIc (computer-based oral proficiency interview) proficiency test. This is an unusual approach considering the short-term nature of the courses, but really the only available accepted tool for measuring proficiency. During the 2016/18 academic year, half of the students completed a one-week iso-immersion and the other half completed a two-week iso-immersion.
The focus on cultural immersion in the Concordia LTC setting is, among other ways, realized through simulated settings, scenarios, role plays, analysis of authentic materials, and informal and formal social engagement with native speakers. As such, cultural immersion impacts understanding the application of language in the context within which it is used. That cultural understanding, in turn, gives language significance in the real world. Assessment of and adjustments to engaging in cultural norms is ongoing throughout the immersion experience, actively fine-tuning appropriate behavior and interface. Participants express their growth in this regard like this: “I knew a lot about that region (custom, tradition, norm, etc.), but now I understand the nuances so much more.”