It’s hard to think of a more inspiring setting for a day of structured intercultural activities than the natural beauty of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in the fall. Every year Professor Peter Grothe invites students in his popular course in intercultural communication—as well as students from all degree programs at MIIS—for an all-day retreat in Big Sur.
The Monterey Institute of International Studies has launched the MIIS International Friendship Program, matching incoming international students from various degree programs with enthusiastic local families. The program provides a unique opportunity for students and local families to share their cultures and backgrounds with one another and learn something new. The local families are not expected to provide students with a place to stay, but rather to invite students to explore life outside of the campus.
Local businesses and student service providers offering everything from food and transport to banking and recreational opportunities introduced themselves to new and returning students at the Monterey Institute’s second annual Student Information Fair on Wednesday, August 24. The event drew a steady crowd of new and returning students and was a great success, connecting students, many of them new to the Monterey Peninsula, to service providers in the local community.
The fall is always an exciting time at the Monterey Institute where faculty, staff and returning students welcome a diverse group of new students from all over the world. This year the incoming class includes citizens of 33 countries and speakers of 22 native languages. What they discover during the first week of orientation is that now they all have one important thing in common—they are all citizens of the Monterey Institute community.
Sixteen students from junior high and high schools in areas most affected by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in March have been invited by the U.S. government on an official tour to help American teenagers learn about the region and the disaster. Two MIIS alumni, Camellia Nieh (MATI ‘06) and Kayo Shiraishi (MACI ‘08) will be serving as interpreters for the Japanese students as they travel through the U.S.
Continuing the long tradition of Monterey Institute faculty, students and staff providing various language services to the people of Monterey County, professor Esther M. Navarro created the audio Spanish translation of a new exhibition at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. Her contribution and that of the Monterey Institute of International Studies is recognized with a sign at the entrance to the exhibition.
Tatiana Ivanova (MATI ’11) graduated in May from the very demanding Translation and Interpretation degree program at the Monterey Institute. As if that was not enough of a challenge, she somehow found time in between classes and assignments to work on a translation of the 1989 award-winning novel Holes by Louis Sachar into Russian.
The so-called “Monterey Mafia”—Monterey Institute alumni—are everywhere, but are particularly well-represented in major international organizations such as the United Nations. The Institute’s busy Alumni Relations Office recently heard from Dylan Westfeldt (MATI ’99), currently a staff interpreter at UN Headquarters in New York, who reported that “at UNHQ there are currently six MIIS staffers and one busy freelancer. Further, three MIIS grads just passed the last staff exam for the English booth.”
As many students are getting ready for new jobs, internships or summer adventures, others are gearing up for a busy summer of language learning. Among those in the latter group are the 140 students who will be attending five different Intensive English Programs at the Monterey Institute this summer.
Approximately 40 students from around the world will take part in the Intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) Summer Session eight-week long course, including six prospective Middlebury College students.
“The key terms that come up after this invigorating conference are collaboration and distance learning,” says professor Kayoko Takeda, head of the Japanese translating and interpreting program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and one of the organizers of the Monterey Forum.