A federal grant will enable the University of Iowa to become the only Big Ten school to offer training in a certain foreign language. The one-point-four million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education will fund a new program in Kannada (con’-ah-dah), a South Indian language spoken by 55-million people. It’ll also pay for a new course in Arabic. Bill Reisinger, dean of the U-of-I’s International Programs, says the additions will take the number of available foreign language offerings to about a dozen, including Swahili.Reisinger says there’s an important need for Americans to be able to speak languages other than Spanish, German and French, which have traditionally been dominantly taught in K-12 and in college. He says it’s “crucial” to learn other languages so those in business, government and other sectors can be successful in an increasingly international world. Reisinger says U-of-I students are encouraged not only to take a foreign language, but to go on study-abroad trips to immerse themselves in other cultures. The grant, which runs from 2003-’06, will support 25 new international studies courses.
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