Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pinoy Pod 36

Tagalog on Site teaches language, fills cultural void

This week on Pinoy Pod, we spotlight a program that takes young Filipino Americans to the Philippines to learn Tagalog and find themselves in the process.

The program is called Tagalog on Site, which combines language instruction with lessons on history, culture and life in the Philippines. Pinoy Pod's Michelle Louie talks with new Tagalog on Site director Karen Villanueva, who says that like many young Fil-Ams, the inability to speak Tagalog used to make her feel she was missing something integral to her identity.

Villanueva says that while growing up in the land of opportunity has been a "rich" experience, it has also been a confusing one because she couldn't connect with the Philippines in a meaningful way. Last summer, she traveled to the Philippines through Tagalog on Site to not only learn Tagalog, but to, as she puts it, "decolonize" herself.

She was so transformed by the trip that she wanted to work for the 10-year-old program, which has served about 153 students. The seven-to eight-week program costs about $2,600, which includes lodging and meals, but not airfare. You don't have to be Pinoy to go - but this is not a tourist excursion.




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