WorldView: A Language Blog

WorldView is a place for leaders in the fields of language education, global citizenship, immersion learning, and other topics central to the Concordia Language Villages mission to address issues important to their fields.

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A Message to Our Community: Inspiring Courageous Global Citizens

By Dan Hamilton and Christine Schulze | Published: January 10, 2018

Over the past year we have engaged with many of you—our villagers, our staff, parents, educators and supporters—to take a hard look at our mission as an organization. We did so not because our previous mission—preparing young people for responsible citizenship in our global community—wasn’t compelling, but because we felt an urgency to review our relevance in a world that is changing rapidly.

Campers play with a giant world ball.

Our community has also changed over the past 30 years, when our mission statement was first written. Our youth programs span a wider range of content-rich activities and adventures. We offer college as well as high school credit, and immerse villagers directly in some of our target cultures abroad. Adults are joining our language immersion sessions throughout the year, for both professional development and personal enrichment. Parents and children can experience our residential immersion programs together in family sessions. Our adventure day camps and language discovery programs introduce the world to pre-school and younger participants. Our curriculum has become far richer and more diverse, guided by our signature pedagogy of the CLVway. Through our engagement with fellow educators and our own research activities, we have learned much about motivating learners of all ages.

During our year-long listening tour, we shared your joy as you recounted your aha! moments of discovering new ways to speak, learn and act. We heard about the sense of empowerment you felt when you realized you could navigate the cues of another culture. We heard of friendships formed and support given. And we heard tales of frustration as you struggled to become fluent in another language.

As we listened to your stories, we found determination, grit, and wonder. But most of all, we found courage. Courage to step out of your comfort zone. Courage to keep going. To keep improving. To look up, reach out, and embrace the world.

The French Nobel Laureate André Gide said that you cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. It takes courage to let go, to swim into the unknown, to grab hold of something new and then return to shore with a greater understanding of what lies beyond our immediate horizon.

Courage to learn something new is the foundation of all teaching and learning at Concordia Language Villages.

When it comes to learning a language or navigating a culture, courage is less about large leaps than it is about small steps. “Courage doesn’t always roar,” Mary Ann Radmacher, a celebrated author and poet, reminds us. “Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” Creating opportunities for that little voice to rise at the end of each day is at the heart of what we do best at the Villages.

Villagers parade at International Day under multiple national flags, including a blue Earth flag.

That is why our mission is to inspire courageous global citizens. We recognize that to fulfill this mission, each of us must examine how we can live responsibly in a complex world, whether with people across the oceans, around the country, or just down the street.

As stewards of our mission, we seek to inspire global citizens to muster the courage to go where they haven’t gone before, to explore new ways and seek to understand diverse cultural perspectives.

We seek to inspire global citizens who can raise their voices with confidence and cultural sensitivity in more than one language.

We seek to inspire global citizens who respect human dignity and cultivate compassion for others, including those of very different views and backgrounds.

We seek to inspire global citizens who have the courage to engage critically, creatively and thoughtfully with issues that transcend boundaries.

We seek to inspire global citizens who have the courage to believe that the world can be more just, peaceful and sustainable, and who are prepared to act on those convictions.

Language is our middle name, but life in the Villages is about more than language. It is about that very personal moment when each of us musters our courage to explore the many surprising, challenging, and rewarding ways of our world. It’s a lifelong journey towards understanding our role in the common home we share with all walks of life and all cultures.

This month, the WorldView Blog will feature perspectives on courage from Concordia Language Villages. We invite all to share their personal story of their quest to be a global citizen and thank those who already have.

About the Authors

A headshot of Dan Hamilton
A headshot of Christine Schulze

Dan Hamilton, Dean of the German Language Village, and Christine Schulze, Executive Director, are the facilitators of the Thought Leadership Team for Concordia Language Villages. 

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