MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
The Air Force Culture and Language Center recently partnered with the Alabama-Korea Education and Economic Partnership for its summer Korean immersion camp hosted at Pike Road (Ala.) Intermediate School from July 3-22, 2022.
This three-week summer program, funded by the National Security Agency, provided students with an intensive Korean language and cultural learning experience through a standards-based and thematically organized curriculum.
AFCLC supported this initiative to bring awareness to the importance of culture and language education and to educate middle and high school students on the military opportunities available through language learning.
“A-KEEP’s mission and NSA’s mission is to promote critical language learning to the students and the different opportunities they could have in the future. I’m very excited to have the Air Force Culture and Language Center partnering with us, speaking to our students, and letting them know the different opportunities they have when learning a new language, such as the Language Enabled Airman Program,” A-KEEP’s K-12 Outreach Coordinator Brittany Payne said.
A-KEEP works with community members to enable students, professionals, organizations, and corporations of Alabama and Korea to take full advantage of the opportunities of growing economic ties between the two regions.
“As the Korean population in Alabama continued to grow, our director saw a need for bridging cultural differences,” Payne said. “For the students, they can see what opportunities arise for them when learning a new language. For the community at large, we can be the bridge to meet in the middle and learn each other’s cultures.”
Korean LEAP Scholar Lt. Col. John Yi, commander of the 33rd Student Squadron at Air University’s Squadron Officer School, supported this initiative by teaching classes for beginner-, intermediate-, and advanced-level Korean-speaking students.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to give back to the local community that we at Maxwell are a part of,” Yi said. “The Air Force has given me many opportunities to learn and practice Korean through the Language Enabled Airman Program, so I’m honored to support a collaboration between AFCLC and a community partner like A-KEEP. The students were so engaged in learning about other cultures and learning about themselves. I was happy to be a part of that and learn from them as well.”
Concluding the event, AFCLC Language Division Chief Christopher Chesser served as keynote speaker for the camp graduation. He emphasized the importance of language and culture skills as an advantage to the community and the country to build and maintain partnerships with international nations.
“Everything you do can be enhanced by foreign language skills. Language is an advantage to our country and any enterprise you support,” he explained. “Education is power, and you all are bringing power to our community and our country by making language a priority.”