Two Languages, One Summer

Students going outside of Nebraska to learn

Camryn Mottl, Features Editor

Over the summer,  there are students who travel all over the world to relax and relish their summer vacation. For seniors like Lily Saker and Morgan Haworth, they journeyed to learn new languages.

Traveling all the way to China, Saker learned Chinese through classes lasting all day.

“I went to the Deyang Foreign Language school for two months, and we would have classes in the morning and some in the afternoon. Then, we’d be quizzed or tested on the material we were supposed to learn at home,” Saker said.

In California, Haworth participated in the Girls who Code program, learning about computer science and coding.

“I went to GirlsWhoCode Summer Immersion Program (SIP) because I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to learn more about computer science.  And it did prove to be just that,” Haworth said.

During their time outside of their programs, both were given experiences they felt they would never forget.

“My family would go get me at 2 a.m., and I’d be trying to go to sleep, and they’d be like, ‘No, let’s go dance in the square.’ In the US, it’s usually scary to go out at this time. But in China, they had music playing and elderly people would be dancing and doing Tai Chi in the square exercising,” Saker said.

On the days when they did have homework, though,  Saker and Haworth were given help from the families they lived with to learn more about their languages.

“The fact that my sister had offered me to stay at her place during the program showed how interested she was in helping me.  On some days, I came home with some unsolved coding problems that we went through together,” Haworth said.

Because of her time in China, Saker sees the benefits school can give her, even during the summer time.

“I think it has been a little hard since I spent my whole summer working and learning, but it does give me a greater appreciation for school and makes me want to try even harder so I can get a good job with the State Department in China in the future,” Saker said.

While coding with Microsoft, Haworth became more open to world problems along with her own creative ideas.

“Basically, it gave me a lot of experience in viewing real world problems, because I also learned stuff in classes here, but going there reinforced the ideas and helped me learn more,” Haworth said.

Through the process, both seniors were able to see life outside of Nebraska’s plains and cities.

“The most valuable part of the whole experience is seeing that there are other ways of living besides our own,” Joshua Lingenfelterm English teacher and the teacher who wrote Saker’s letter of recommendation said.

With the different cultures and lifestyles, these girls could never stop learning about the place they resided in over the summer, whether they were participating in their programs or going out with their families.

“The thing about coding it seems (at least to me) [is] that you are always learning.  Usually, no one codes the same thing twice.  So, it’s pretty great to be always learning,” Haworth said.

Although both girls are back home in Nebraska, neither could forget the memories they made, nor the language they mastered over the summer.

“I miss my family and friends the most. I really connected with them since I had similar interests, and we hung out so often that I miss going out to eat with them,” Saker said.