Grad student receives Chile opportunity
By Christian Mengel
April 29, 2012
For the next six months, graduate student Brittany Moses will be taken out of the typical student life and put into the life of a citizen in Chile.
That’s right. At the end of the semester, she will be heading down to Santiago, the capitol of Chile. Not only will she be living in Chile for the duration of her stay, she will be teaching English as a second language to business professionals in need of a better understanding of English.
Moses is received her degree in music business and songwriting at Middle Tennessee State University. She decided to come to here because her family lived near the area, and Western was the only school around that offered a master’s program that emphasized on teaching English to speakers of other languages.
“Right now I’m doing a project and using my background in music and my expertise in that,” Moses said. “I’m going to create a curriculum and a program that uses music to teach English.”
The top language in Chile is Spanish, but Moses doesn’t know how to speak it. For most people it would be a hard task to communicate with someone while having no common language to use, but she has done it before.
“I’ve already been doing it,” Moses said. “I taught ESL (English as Second Language) for a college in Savannah, Ga., so I’ve had experience and that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s a lot of non-verbal communication in the beginning. But what I’m finding from my research is that before you try to learn another language you should listen to it for a long time and learn the rhythms of their language before you try to speak it. So I’m going to incorporate music.”
None of this opportunity will be done through the school. Moses has done everything herself, from finding the teaching job to finding out where she is going to stay. Absolutely none of her living plans were set up for her, so she felt like she kind of had to take a gamble.
“They said ‘We’ll figure it out when you get here,’” Moses said. “So I thought I should try and do some research to find people through Facebook and social networking, but that didn’t work. So I went on Craigslist and found this girl who lives in Santiago. She speaks really broken English, so we’ve been Skyping and using Google Translate. Now we’ve already become really good friends without even knowing how to speak each other’s languages. She’ll be picking me up at the airport, so I guess I’m pretty trusting.”
Moses is planning on coming back to the states knowing how to speak Spanish, and speak it well. She is hoping that being surrounding by Spanish speakers will be enough influence to get a piece of their culture to bring back.