March Multilingual Carnival: How Immersion Programs Can Help with Both Language and Culture

Hello, everyone!

I am pleased and excited to be hosting The Piri Piri Lexicon’s Multilingual Carnival this month!

March Multilingual Carnival Exploring Immersion Programs

March Multilingual Carnival Exploring Immersion Programs

This month we are exploring immersion programs and experiences of multilingual bloggers with the program. I had a relatively broad question for our members: This month our theme is learning language through immersion programs. Immersion programs may include dance programs, summer programs, after school programs, educational abroad programs, and many others! I would like to take a look this month into how these programs can help both culture and language. Have you or your children participated? 

The responses are detailed, descriptive and create a wonderful look into how important immersion programs can be.

On Organizing an Immersion Program

Sarah from Baby Bilingual wrote a three part series about teaching a French immersion camp. In the first part of her series, she discusses what not to do when you are organizing a French immersion class. The post is a humorous journey through Sarah’s experience. The second part of the series continues and expands upon this experience, and the third part explains how she pulled it all together.

On How Immersion Visits Can Help with Both Language and Culture:

Jeanne from Soul Travelers 3 writes about their immersion visit to China. She explains that “[i]f you want to be fluent in Mandarin, an immersion visit to China is very important.” In the post, she explains the steps she took to make the trip a success.

Lynn from Open Hearts, Open Minds shared her son’s various immersion experiences – it’s an informative and helpful read for parents who are interested in having their children attend an immersive preschool.

Frances from Discovering the World Through My Sons Eyes writes about her son’s first Spanish immersion trip to Puerto Rico. She explains that they had been to Puerto Rico many times before, but this was the first trip that her son was fully immersed in the language. For more experiences with immersion and immersion programs, Frances also wrote about her experiences with a Spanish immersion playdate, their journey into Spanish immersion classes, and her son’s Spanish immersion graduation.

Audrey from Bilingue Babies shares her own experiences with an immersion program and how it helped her language skills “soar.” She is hoping that her own children will have their own immersion experiences soon to help give them an extra “push”.

Becky from Kid World Citizen wrote about her family’s decision to take a summer abroad in Mexico to improve their Spanish. The trip was a success and helped her children improve their Spanish and their self-confidence.

On Moving Overseas:

Amanda of Maroc Mama moved to her husband’s home country of Morocco so that her boys could become fluent in Arabic and French. She explains in her post on Mutlicultural Kid Blogs that, after seven months, their decision has paid off and believes even though it hasn’t always been easy, the value of being tri-lingual outweighs the struggles that they are facing.

Maria from Trilingual Mama writes about how she helps her children maintain being fluent in three languages. In this post, she shares her son’s enthusiasm for being fluent and nurturing the enthusiasm through immersion trips.

The Benefits of Bilingualism Through Second-Language Immersion Programs

Julie from Open Wide the World explored the cognitive benefits of learning a second language through an immersion program rather than through home or community. The post is interesting and, if you’ve been playing with the idea of a second-language immersion prgram, may help you decide to give an immersion program a try! 

I hope these posts from multilingual bloggers inspire and assist you in your decision to try an immersion program. These women are amazing and I highly recommend following their blogs and experiences! The next multilingual carnival will be hosted by Adrianna of Homeschool Ways — she will be exploring teaching reading. If you would like to participate, host, or read more visit The Piri Piri Lexicon’s Raising Multilingual Children Blogging Carnival page.

P.S., As this post is long, I am going to post my own experiences with immersion programs some time in the next few days.

Call for Submissions — Multilingual Carnival on Piri Piri Lexicon

Hi, everyone!

I’m very excited to be hosting this month’s Multilingual Carnival on The Piri Piri Lexicon. This month our theme is learning language through immersion programs. Immersion programs may include dance programs, summer programs, after school programs, educational abroad programs, and many others! I would like to take a look this month into how these programs can help both culture and language. Have you or your children participated?

Please send me a link to your blog post at kat @ by March 25 — the post will be posted on March 31st on
I’m looking forward to reading all your posts!

Do you believe in ghosts?

Sometimes, I think that the fear of ghosts (and the belief in the afterlife) is based on culture and upbringing. For instance, in Hawaii, in addition to their languages and food, the immigrants who came to Hawaii also brought their monsters. Tales of spirits are often told — from stories of the Night Marchers (Ghosts of Ancient Hawaiian Warriors) to the Japanese faceless woman who washes her face in the bathroom.

I studied a lot about ghosts and spirits and have formed a few conclusions: 1) by understanding a culture’s monsters, you can understand the culture’s fears and hopes and 2) every culture has monsters, maybe not spirits, but definitely monsters.

In Hawaii, ancestor worship by Chinese immigrants is a tradition that is upheld and can be seen in the Chinese graveyards. I remember tending one day every year, tending to family grave sites with Chinese Bai San with my mom’s side of the family. During Bai San, my great aunt would prepare “money” which we would burn so our ancestors would have money in the afterlife.  We would then set out food and burn incense. Before we could enter our homes after the graveyard, we would have to jump over a fire so the ghosts wouldn’t follow us home.

I’m not going to tell my daughter anything about ghost or spirits. I’d like her to draw her own conclusions about the subject, but I don’t want her to miss out on our culture. So, instead of scaring her with the spirits, I’ll talk with her in terms of learning more about her cultures.

So, what do you think, do you believe in ghosts? What is your experience? Is your belief cultural?

Love, Languages, and Learning

When I was younger, I had always related to people of different cultures. My closest friends (except for my hanai sister) were born in different countries ranging from Syria to Japan to Iceland. As a child, I learned Japanese and Spanish. When I went to high school, I took (but don’t remember much) French, Chinese, and Sign Language. In college, I continued to take Japanese and Spanish and added in Russian.

When I met my husband, we immediately bonded over our love of learning. We had connected over eHarmony and he had been impressed with the fact that I had been studying many of the languages he had studied (Japanese, Spanish, Chinese). He was also impressed that I had taken Russian. We talked a lot about this in the early days. On February 14, he told me he was reading the book,”Kafka on the Shore”. Because I love to read, I decided to read it also. I finished it in a day. I immediately texted him and told him that I had finished the book. He was really impressed because he hadn’t finished it yet. Intrigued by a man who loved international novels and math (we chatted a lot about math problems), I called him the very next day and told him I’d be coming up to Seattle for a visit and would love to meet him.

We set a date and I drove up with my family. When we met, I was really nervous and I chattered away about the book, transgender issues (I was studying this in law school and it related to the book), and my love of languages. He listened intently and was happy to listen to me talk. Then, we switched and I listened to him talk about where he grew up and how he had immigrated to America. The immigrant experience had always been really interesting to me, and I listened intently. He was so articulate and interesting that I decided then and there he was the “one”.

We laughed a lot during that first date and learned a lot about each other. I found out he loved poetry. So, every Friday after our date I sent him a new poem that I wrote. Although I don’t write him poems much anymore, and he doesn’t have time to read as much, I continue to love to listen and learn from him. We are very different in the way we do things and, sometimes, this causes a problem for us. But, on the days where we are taking the time to listen to each other, I see what it was that made me fall in love with him on the first day. There is so much I can learn from him and so much that he can learn from me.

I still love listening to him talk about how he grew up in Russia and how things were so much different there. I enjoy listening to him tell me about his first experiences in American and the struggles he and his family overcame.

Although the main language of our house is English, and my Japanese and Spanish have become a little (okay, very) rusty, I love eavesdropping on his phone calls and challenging myself to translate what he’s saying. When he’s done, I ask him if my translation was about right. Usually, it’s not bad.

Sometimes, when you have a child, it’s easy to take your spouse or significant other for granted. I try not to and, when we fight, I look to the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place — that he is strong willed, intelligent, and from a different culture than me. I remind myself that I love him because I learn from him every day. Just as I hope he learns from me.

On February 16, we celebrated our 6 year anniversary.

Meeting the Love of My Life

A photo from when we first met.