Scouting is about citizenship. It is about citizenship in the Community, Nation, and World.
One of the requirements for citizenship in the world includes trying to speak to people from other countries. This is often hard for people in America because, especially in Indiana, we live so far from any borders. With one in five people now an immigrant to our land, it is becoming easier than ever before.
Even so, one of the best skills that a good scout can develop is the ability to communicate in more than one language. For residents of Indiana, we have a unique opportunity for incoming juniors, seniors, and recent graduates from high school. (The main target audience is incoming seniors). It is the Indiana University honors program in foreign languages.
My son and I are both alumni of the program. I studied in France and he studied in Spain. District Chair John Wiebke’s son also participated in Chile at the same time my son was in Spain. As a result we are highly conversant in our second languages.
They are preparing to close out their application season for the Summer 2018 trips. They travel to France, Spain, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Chile, China, and Japan. The students are required to speak exclusively in the host language for six weeks. This is a wonderful opportunity for a complete immersion experience.
Scouts make great candidates for this program because they must undergo an in person interview and demonstrate that they would be good ambassadors for America to the host country. Often this program is dominated by girls. There always eager to get good male applicants.
Well the program is expensive, there are ways to find financial help. Even if you doubt that financial ability will be possible, I still encourage students to apply. Being accepted into the program is an honor in and of itself. It helps raise the applicant’s self assuredness because they are capable of qualifying for such a respectable program.
If your child or a scout in your troop or crew is interested at all in international issues, I would commend this program to your attention.