Obies Using Languages

To get a better sense of how Obies use languages other than English, we’ve asked current students and alumni to fill out a brief survey and let us know what they’re up to, linguistically! Are you interested in participating in the project? Email us.

Obies Using Languages: Clara Engen

Clara is a double degree student majoring in History and Violin who spent last winter term in Panama teaching music with the Oberlin Panama Project.

I spent my winter term 2014 with a group of Conservatory students teaching music with a youth orchestra camp in Panama. Using Spanish in Panama was completely different than in class because I was the one teaching. It was a little scary to stand up in front of a group of eager but rowdy kids, but I soon left my inhibitions about speaking in Spanish far behind me and began to absorb the vocabulary necessary for controlling a classroom and sharing my knowledge about the violin to my students. I think the most difficult part of the experience was actually not speaking, but understanding when other people spoke in the noisy and hectic environment of the music camp. The challenges of teaching in Spanish not only strengthened my language skills but helped me grow as a music educator, and I’m incredibly excited to return this January to continue making music in Panama.

Below is a Panamanian news article about the camp, including an interview with the Oberlin’s orchestra director Raphael Jimenez.
Read the article here.

Obies Using Languages: Will Watkins ’16

Will is double degree student majoring in Russian and Violin and spent last spring semester abroad in Russia studying Russian as a Second Language.


Obies Using Languages: Chelsea Cross, ’15

Chelsea Cross is a member of the Class of 2015, currently pursuing a major in Sociology and a minor in Hispanic Studies. She spent the first 6 weeks of her 2014 summer vacation volunteering as a dance instructor in Colima, Mexico and conducting a private language study with Lucia Stone’s “Spanish Awakenings” program.


Obies Using Languages: Weelic Chong, ’15

Weelic Chong is a member of the Class of 2015 and is currently pursuing a major in Neuroscience. He spent his winter term at Nagoya University in Nagoya, Japan, and then the spring of 2014 studying abroad at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.