A Basque in Boise

For the third year in a row, the Basque intensive course for future teachers took place in Boise, Idaho

Boise Barnetegi 2013Izaskun Kortazar, Spanish lecturer at World Languages and Basque Language Coordinator of N.A.B.O. (North American Basque Organization), taught a week long intensive Basque language course at BSU last June. This is the third year that this Basque intensive course takes place at BSU. This immersion week provides an opportunity for the students to speak the language since they learn Basque online throughout the year with a program called “Euskara Munduan” (Basque in the world). The course is organized by H.A.B.E., the Basque language institution in the Basque Country, and N.A.B.O. Kinku Zinkunegi, the director of Basque Language Learning Abroad, co- teaches the course.

Students attend class for 6 hours every day, including Saturdays and Sundays, and they eat at the Boise River Coffee while they practice Basque. After the class, they have dinner together in order to have additional opportunities to speak Basque.

The goal is to train 13 teachers in order to help fill the need for Basque language teachers in the USA and Canada. These students have not  graduated yet however, some of them have already started teaching as there is great interest to learn Basque in their home towns. For example, William Thompson-Uberuaga, who participates in this program and also attended an immersion school in the Basque Country 2 years ago, teaches Introdcutory Basque at the Basque Museum of Boise. Ellen Contard started a class for kids in Denver, and Olivia Bidaurreta and Virginia Aramburu co-teach kids in San Francisco. In the fall, David Romtvedt will teach Basque in Wyoming where, at the moment, there are no Basque language classes.

With this program, Izaskun Kortazar hopes to provide Basque language classes in more states, grow the number of students, and keep the Basque culture alive.

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Nere Mark Bieter

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