Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) at the University of Utah helps students apply their proficiency in a second language to courses in a variety of majors. Most CLAC classes are one-credit discussion sections linked to a regular three-credit class and offer a unique way for students to use and improve their language skills. CLAC students also gain new perspectives on countries and cultures and deepen their understanding of the course work. The languages offered in fall 2020 include Spanish, Japanese and Korean.
Wilson Wosnjuk, a sophomore majoring in business and Latin American studies, has already taken two CLAC courses in Spanish and is looking forward to taking more. Below, he answers some questions about the courses and how they have impacted his language acquisition and overall education.
What CLAC courses have you taken?
Latin American World Music and Intro to Comparative Politics.
Why did you register for CLAC?
I enrolled in the music class to fulfill a fine arts credit. The professor mentioned the Spanish CLAC session on the first day of class and it peaked my interest as a good way to practice my Spanish. It proved to be that and so much more. Aside from the great benefit of expanding my Spanish vocabulary, CLAC also allowed me to more fully experience, understand and enjoy the course material.
Are you planning to register for another CLAC course?
Absolutely, I ask almost all of my professors if they have CLAC courses organized or if it'd be possible to set one up.
Did the CLAC course give you a greater understanding of the overall class/topic?
My favorite CLAC course has been Intro to Comparative Politics taught by Claudio Holzner. The class itself was great, but the CLAC session was what really made the material "real" to me. We had more time to discuss specific details, people, history, ideologies and politics of certain regions. In the section, we connected the principles we'd learned in class with historical and current events in Latin America in more specific and enlightening ways.
The students who sign up for CLAC come from varied backgrounds and bring new perspectives to the topics addressed in class, especially as they apply to certain regions. One of my favorite parts of CLAC is learning from my peers and getting to understand their experiences. Because the courses are usually pretty small, we become great friends, too.
Did the CLAC course help improve your language skills?
CLAC courses gave me experience reading, writing and presenting professional material in a foreign language. After taking CLAC, I feel much more confident in my vocabulary and general ability to carry a professional conversation in Spanish.
What did you enjoy most about your CLAC course?
I especially enjoyed getting to learn from the CLAC instructors because they are passionate and extremely knowledgeable about the material. The instructors were also readily available and very inspiring. I like that in CLAC, the focus is not only on learning and memorizing the material but learning how to think critically, connecting complex concepts and expressing yourself effectively in a foreign language.
Sign up for CLAC today
CLAC courses are a great option for students who have intermediate-level proficiency in the target language or have fulfilled the two-year language requirement or its equivalent. Fall 2020 courses will be offered in Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Spanish in a variety of departments including sociology, biology, environmental and sustainability studies, political science, history, anthropology and music. For more information, visit ias.utah.edu/language/clac.php.