Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

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Language Awards Lead to Summer Trips Abroad

By IMSA Spanish Faculty Member José Palos

Russia, Costa Rica, China and Germany will be some of the summer destinations of several IMSA students thanks to the national and international awards that students in World Languages continue to win, following their excellent academic performance.

“When coming to IMSA, many people are unaware of the opportunities in World Languages,” said senior Savanna Rutas, who is currently enrolled in both German and Russian.  She will be going to Russia this summer as part of a NSLI-Y award, one of several competitive opportunities made available each year to students enrolled in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish classes. 

Sophomore August Negro also won a NSLI-Y scholarship, but he will be spending seven weeks in Changchun, China.  He explained that studying foreign languages at IMSA “is so important because it gives us the opportunity to experience cultures, languages, and beliefs fundamentally different than our own.”   Xochitl Menchaca, who will also spend most of her summer in China, added that “in our shrinking world, studying languages and cultures has become a necessity to communicate ideas; not only for the professional world, but to expand our way of thinking, build relationships, and develop respect for both ourselves and others.”  She will be joined in this trip by French II student Amanda Gao.

Other IMSA national award recipients include Jacob Kronenberg, who received an all-expense summer study trip to Germany made possible after his excellent performance in the German National Exam, and Mateusz Wojtaszez, who will head to Costa Rica. 

“Studying a language is one of the most rewarding things about IMSA,” he said.  The winner of a National Spanish Exam/AATSP Junior Travel Award, Mateusz admitted that “I would not by any means have been able to embark on a trip like this on my own, but because the IMSA Spanish program prepared me so well, I will now be able to have the experience of a lifetime.”