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08-05_spencer_1Dartmouth College has awarded Spencer Parsons (II) a scholarship to participate this summer in The Rassias Foundation’s Accelerated Language Program. Spencer will be studying Arabic in a ten-day intensive course that focuses on structure, vocabulary, fluency, accent and cultural understanding. Spencer is a self-proclaimed “language person,” and although familiar with Latin, French, Spanish and Chinese, he knows no Arabic. Spencer says, “I don’t want to go into the program with any preconceived ideas about the language. The only thing I know how to say in Arabic right now is thank you. The program at Dartmouth claims that after 100 hours spent working with the language, [students] will have a certain level of fluency. The method they used was originally developed for teaching Peace Corps volunteers.”

Spencer, who was seeking a summer independent language study on his own, came upon this opportunity and submitted a winning essay noted for its “goals and vision.” Spencer is currently enrolled in AP French and is trying to learn Chinese from friends. “They laugh at my accent,” he jokes. “Languages are like a puzzle to me, and I like puzzles,” he says. “I think I have a good ear for languages, and I think that knowing other languages is important, but mostly, I think they’re fun.”