Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

Tool Objectives:

  1. To keep a record of your language learning while abroad.
  2. To empower you to take ownership of your language learning, so as to increase your motivation and likelihood of continuing with the language upon return.
  3. To encourage you to reflect on the linguistic, sociolinguistic, and sociocultural aspects of language learning in context.

Tool Description:

One of the most valuable things students can do to boost their language learning potential while abroad is to keep a record of their progress. This assignment requires students to create a language learning journal as a way to keep track of what they do every day as they use the language in both structured and unstructured settings. It will also serve as a record of their first impressions with using the language in context. A second part of the assignment requires students to generate a Top Ten Tips for Language Learning in short-term, education abroad experiences.

Tool Procedures:

  1. Language Learning Journal.  During their time abroad, require students to keep a journal in which they record daily entries of their progress toward learning the language. A hardcover book is the best. A loose-leaf binder would work but it’s not as sturdy and may not survive the international travel. Determine the exact date the journal will be due, but preferably within two weeks of returning from abroad.

It may be best to avoid requiring a specific structure for the journal, but emphasize that students should make daily entries with as much detail as possible. Recommended sections can include a section in which students lay out their language learning goals, a section in which they note the colloquial usages of the language, and a section in which students reflect on their mistakes in using the language appropriately in context. Additional sections can focus on the acquisitions of new vocabulary, practical usage of new grammatical structures, and space for students to illustrate how the language is used in a visual context. At least one section should allow students space for miscellaneous musings on their language learning.

  1. Top Ten Tips for Language Learning.  Upon return have students reflect on the many ways they went about learning the language during their time abroad.  Have them narrow this down to 3-5 tips for learning the target language.  Merge the students’ lists to create a master list for language learning in short-term, education abroad experiences. Discussing this list in class could be a rewarding way to wrap-up the semester and would be a helpful tool for subsequent student groups.

Tool Evaluation:

This two-part assignment can be worth up to 30% of the overall course grade: 25% for the Language Learning Journal and 5% for the Tips for Language Learning. The journal should be assessed on a student’s demonstrated effort toward learning the language and the depth and breadth of the daily entries. The tips for language learning should be assessed on their originality and realistic application to short-term, education abroad experiences.

Tool Time Requirement:

No class time required

Tool Author(s):

A. Ogden, 2009

Tool Handouts [.doc or .docx]:
Lost in Translation Handout

Mark Beirn


An experienced global researcher and administrator, Mark Beirn brings a critical approach to risk management, factoring structural racism and identity-based violence into his rubric for supporting equitable global mobility.

Specialization Areas:

– Global Risk Management
– Education Abroad
– Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in International Education
– Health and Safety
– Curriculum Development


Stephen Appiah-Padi​


Stephen Appiah-Padi is an international educator with several years of teaching and administrative experience in both 4 and 2-year HEIs. An experienced global education practitioner-scholar, with a demonstrated history of success in the field.

Dr. Appiah-Padi has a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada in Educational Policy & Administration with a specialization in International/Intercultural Education.

At Northwestern College, he provided oversight in the administration of education abroad and international student services. In Lansing, Michigan, he first oversaw diversity and intercultural education at Lansing Community College, and later created the Center for International and Intercultural Education (CIIE) which merged intercultural engagement and international education programs of the institution, and he became its first director. Additionally, Dr. Appiah-Padi taught a course, “Diversity in the American Workplace”, to undergraduate management students of the College. In his current position, he provides leadership and vision in advancing strategic internationalization initiatives, including international partnerships and study abroad programs at Bucknell University.

Dr Appiah-Padi has created and facilitated several workshops for faculty and staff development in higher education and in business organizations. He has presented at several national and international conferences. In NAFSA, among several volunteer leadership positions, he has served as Dean of the Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication Workshop, the Leadership Development Committee member, Chair of the Africa Special Interest Group, and a Fellow of the Global Fellowship Program for mentoring emerging leaders of internationalization in African HEIs. He currently serves as a member of the NAFSA Board of Directors.

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Rosa Almoguera


Dr. Rosa Almoguera has worked as an international educator for over twenty years. She was trained as a Hispanic Philologist at the Universidad Complutense, in Madrid, and did her M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. Her Ph.D., from Universidad Complutense included a field study and edition of written balladry “Romancero”. During many years Rosa combined teaching and her role as a senior administrator at the Fundación Ortega-Marañón in Toledo, Spain. At the Foundation, Rosa directed and, in many cases created, programs for the University of Minnesota, Notre Dame, Princeton, Ohio State, Arcadia, and the University of Chicago. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, University of Portland, and Interamericana de Puerto Rico.

Beginning in 2016, Rosa works as an international education consultant for both public and private European and US higher education institutions. Rosa has been successful in developing new partnerships and programs, as well as helping improve already existing ones.

Rosa is a member of Forum and NAFSA and has presented with higher education professionals on innovative academic and research programming, STEM in study abroad and Nationalism in Europe. Rosa is currently completing the final Professional Certification from the Forum on Education Abroad.