Elizabeth Chung, a senior majoring in Public Relations, and  a participant of DILS (Directed Independent Language Study) as well as a past recipient of the Gilman International Scholarship.

"DILS is a program that allows students to study languages not taught in the UM curriculum and once a year, there is a night for cultural celebration and presentation from the students including food, fashion, dance, etc. It's a great event where students can learn about each other's culture - especially those that aren't the traditional known cultures (e.g. Korean, Polish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Persian, etc.). I will be at that event and interview several students who have decided to study a "non-common" language and can also report on the event itself. Thank you very much and I look forward to speaking to you."

Miguel Gavidia (November 2013): UG in CAS,  majoring in  Computer Science; currently learning Korean in DILS.  He has traveled extensively in other Asian countries, loves to learn languages. He explains below why.
(this student has not been to Korea yet; he writes about the importance of knowing the language).

"I think that learning Korean has given me the opportunity to learn more about the culture in depth than the casual meeting with Korean people in Korean markets or restaurants. I say this because I live in Fort Lauderdale and there are several Korean markets and restaurants that I frequent quite often. It gives me the opportunity to reach out to these individuals in their own language or at least attempt to. I also look to the long term hoping to be able to use the language in a working or professional environment along with my other language skills.

I believe my love for learning languages is about communicating with people of other cultures about things that I normally wouldn't converse about in my native language. It is also the special moment when you talk to someone in their language and their amazement and/or delight that you have taken the time to learn a little about their culture and language."

Student in Korean. December 2013

"I remember my first big disappointment at UM: finding out that the language I wanted to learn most was not offered at the college. Not only at UM, but none of the schools of South Florida offered Korean. I started searching online for software programs, but couldn't afford the $500 price tag that most of them carried. When I heard about the DILS program through a friend, I was skeptical and hopeful at the same time. I didn't think a high quality program could exist free of charge. After completing a semester of the Korean beginner program, I stand corrected. My teacher was fun and taught us relevant words, not the stuffy, overly formal setences you find in textbooks. Now when I listen to Kpop and watch Kdramas, I can understand a lot of what is being said. DILS is fun, high quality and also a significant commitment. You get as much as you put in. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in devoting some serious study to a language not offered for credit at UM."