I am back in St. Barths with some of my team. We are running around the island and have a full schedule of meetings as well as villa and hotel inspections. We are enjoying fabulous lunches and dinners and working on a big surprise for you.
St. Barts is a French island, so I get to speak a little French while I am here. Don’t worry; you can come here on vacation without speaking French. People in the restaurants and shops as well as at the staff at my St. Barts office speak English. However, the islanders love it when visitors attempt to speak their language.
Have you always wanted to speak French or improve your vocabulary? Next month, you can join me at Dartmouth College where I am taking a French immersion course for the third time. It is called ALPS (Accelerated Language Programs) and it was created by John Rassias whose Rassias Method of teaching produces immediate results. The ALPS website states, “The goal of the Rassias Method is to make the participant feel comfortable and natural with the language in a short period of time. This is accomplished through a specific series of teaching procedures and dramatic techniques which seek to eliminate inhibitions and create an atmosphere of free expression from the very first day of class. Our method of language instruction places the participant at center stage and seeks to replicate the relevant, life-like situations encountered in the target language. The emphasis throughout is spoken language and familiarity with the culture of the country whose language is being studied. The classroom techniques involved are rapid-paced, theatrical, highly creative, imaginative, and necessitate great quantities of enthusiasm”.
This course is intense so you really need to be committed to spending 10 days (and evenings) learning everything you possibly can about the French language. The ALPS program offers immersion courses for everyone. Whether you are a rank beginner or a very advanced student, there is a course for you. Upon arrival, you will be assigned to a small group with other students who are on the same level as you are. You will take three Master classes each day followed by “drills” that support what you are learning. You will have lunch and dinner with your fellow group members and a staff member will join you. You are supposed to speak only French while you are being immersed, so it is quite a challenge.
You will hear lots of people speaking other languages while you are there because other groups will be learning Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and German during the session. The Rassias Method works because you have to think on your feet – no time to stop and translate anything in your head – this is true immersion.
The dates are July 6-15 2012 and I would love to see you there. You can apply on-line and opt to stay in the Dartmouth dorms or a nearby hotel. The Marriott Residence Inn in Lebanon has special rates for ALPS students. Let me know if you are going; it would be great to meet you and we can rave about St. Barts in French!