World Studies Media Center to offer international pen-pals

Maya Earls
Spectrum Editor

The World Studies Media Center at VCU will offer a new opportunity to talk face-to-face with students from all over the world, through their video conference program “Teletandem.”

Currently, the WSMC uses Teletandem to help classes speak with university students in countries such as Brazil, Russia, Taiwan, Mexico and France. The WSMC is now focusing on matching individual students with others around the world to help practice a new language and learn about a different culture.

Students at World Studies Media Center can learn languages through programs like Rosetta Stone. Photo by Pilar Curtis

Assistant Director of the WSMC Greg Hellman said he felt Teletandem is one of the best programs offered at the center.

“If somebody came in, they could tell us they are interested in that, and we could look into finding them a partner,” Hellman said. “It’s language exchange of the future.”

The Teletandem program is expanding to include more schools and countries every day. Hellman said the center is also working on incorporating more video projects by students involved in the School of World Studies at VCU.

“We’re (working) with students to create more videos about cultural language topics, religious studies and basically what we study in the School of World Studies,” Hellman said. “We have our own cameras that we can work with students on certain projects.”

After opening in the ‘70s, the WSMC has provided the latest programs to help students learn a new language. Hellman said the technology has expanded from listening to cassette tapes to in-depth learning on programs such as Rosetta Stone. The center also offers a large collection of DVD films in multiple languages.

“French is our largest (collection) by far,” Hellman said. “We have 758 to be exact.”

Hellman said watching films can teach students about a culture and serves as another way for students to absorb vocabulary. The center offers languages not offered at VCU, such as Japanese and Zulu, for students to learn at their own pace.

“Traditionally, we serve the School of World Studies, but we like to welcome all VCU students,” Hellman said.

Since the WSMC has nearly all the capabilities of the James Cabell Library, Hellman said some students find the quieter space a more promising spot to study. The center also has printers, headphones and webcams for students to use. With multiple tools to offer, the center can help students teach themselves more about a language and a culture at a pace that best suits them.

The World Studies Media Center is located on the fourth floor of Hibbs Hall, and is open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply