Language Lounge offers individual routes to understanding foreign languages

On College Avenue and Mulberry Street, an office in a little red house runs the Language Lounge.

The Language Lounge offers several different plans for students, depending on their experience and what they desire to learn. Whatever subject the student wants to focus on is their decision. One could focus on conversational Spanish about a specific subject relevant to them or their profession.

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“It’s more individual … it’s completely different for every student,” said Helenah Sadlak, an instructor at the Language Lounge.

Kathryn Symmes dishes out a homemade traditional Spanish dessert, panecllios dulces, to her instructor, Helena Sadlak, and fellow classmates, Margy Altmix and Paul Hedquist Wednesday evening at the Language Center. Located on the corner of Mulberry and College, the Language Center is place where community members gather to learn various languages and share their passion for culture, language, and travel.
Kathryn Symmes dishes out a homemade traditional Spanish dessert, panecllios dulces, to her instructor, Helena Sadlak, and fellow classmates, Margy Altmix and Paul Hedquist Wednesday evening at the Language Center. Located on the corner of Mulberry and College, the Language Center is place where community members gather to learn various languages and share their passion for culture, language, and travel.

There are also several different times and structures for classes, so that students can further customize their learning experience. Many different types of people come to the Language Longue looking with different aims.

To try and best address these varying goals, the lounge has three main objectives in the learning experience they create — one being a relaxed environment.

“We create this welcoming, very relaxed environment here in the lounge, not only in teaching methodology but our instructors,” said Allison Wick, marketing assistant for the Language Longue and CSU graduate.

Staffers said they also try and create an experience that is responsive to what students want.

“We try to keep things very conversational. We’re not a teacher in a classroom just lecturing on something. We like to keep it very laid back –– lots of communication between peers, between the instructor and the students,” Wick said.

Additionally, the instructors always try and make the information relevant to the students so they are more interested in the subject matter.

“By keeping the subject matter relevant to individualized students, they want to learn,” Wick said.

It is never too late to try and expand one’s knowledge of foreign cultures and languages — especially as the world seems to become smaller with globalization.

“It’s fun to use another language and it’s easy, with globalization, to move and to travel, and it’s good to speak another language. Now with the market open you can work in other countries,” Sadlak said.

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While it may seem obvious to acknowledge the benefits in knowing a country’s language if one wants to travel there, the alienation of not speaking a native language is hard to know without having felt it.

“If you go to another country and you don’t speak the language, you speak your language, you try to communicate … there’s a wall it’s like ‘ok, you’re a tourist,’ but if you try to communicate in their language you make an effort … so that’s good they appreciate that,” Sadlak said.

Knowing a country’s language can also help a traveler to better appreciate and understand the culture. Being able to meet people and converse with them abroad greatly increases the cultural understanding one receives when travelling.

“When you can communicate with the people who live there in the target language your understanding of their lives and customs and culture would be more than just a superficial knowledge,” said Masako Beecken, a longtime CSU Japanese instructor.