Spring 2020 ILO

Integrated Language Options (ILOs) constitute the core elements of the RCAH Cultures and Languages across the Curriculum Program. ILOs provide language immersion opportunities for students. In an ILO, students use the language to collaborate with each other and their language fellow on a semester-long project.


Title: Authentic Arabic Music: Umm Kulthum’s Band and Traditional Instruments

View images here.

Description: In this project, we explored traditional Arabic instruments, such as the ney, mijwiz, dumbek, qanun, tabl, bouzouq, and oud. By gaining an understanding of what these instruments look and sound like, we created a foundation for listening to traditional Arabic music, including the music of Umm Kulthum and her band. Umm Kulthum was a famous Egyptian singer and actress, known as the “Star of the East.” She performed from the 1920s to the 1970s, and her music is still popular and influential today.

Participants: Kaylee McCarthy with Fellow Azad Hassan.


Cuisine d’Afrique de l’Ouest: les plantains frites et le poulet yassa (West African Cuisine: Fried plantains and yassa chicken)

Watch video here. 

Description: The French ILO explored food and cooking in French West Africa. We learned about ingredients and methods of preparation, as well as the cultural context of the meals such as how and why such a meal would be eaten. The fellows brought personal experiences and memories of food from Benin (Dr Kraus) and Mali (Dr Tamboura). Ultimately, Abby and Matt selected and prepared alloko from Côte d’Ivoire and poulet yassa from Sénégal, making Dr Kraus and Dr Tamboura very hungry.

Participants: Abigail Kuplicki and Matthew Miller with Fellows Erika Kraus and Welore Tamboura.


Title: Poems and lyrics (시와 가사)

Watch videos here and here.

Description: To showcase the melodic fluidity of Korean language, we did a poem and lyrics reading. The first project, 사랑도 살아가는 일인데  (Love, too, is a Matter of Living), is a poem by the acclaimed writer Do Jong-Hwan (도종환). This piece compares love and life to that of natural elements - trees, wind, the sun... Caitlin has chosen to read this poem because she appreciates the message of living being to love and its success at depicting fluidity of the Korean language. The second project, First Love, is a song by famous Korean band, BTS. This piece displays music and the piano as the first love of the singer, Suga. Despite Suga feels guilty for no longer playing it, through lyrics his piano talks to him - convincing him that it is okay even if he stops playing it. Eryn has chosen to read these lyrics because it was one of the first songs that she listened to by BTS and she fell in love with it. These lyrics remind her of a poem and further displays the fluidity of Korean language.

Participants: Caitlin David and Eryn Savage with Fellow Ezgi Ulusoy


Title: Ojibwe Children’s Storybook: Frankie’s Garden Walk (A work in progress)

Additional Project: Ojibwe Crossword and Word Search

View PDFs here.

Description: Ojibwe is a spoken language and was never written, and there are several different dialects of Ojibwe language. This makes Ojibwe a difficult language to learn, outside of immersion. Because of this, we decided we wanted to change our approach to learning: instead of writing things down, how can we learn the language through listening? That way we are focused on the language instead of focusing on how to write it and pronounce it. The Ojibwe ILO decided that since children learn through listening first, we would write a children’s story book that we would use to learn not only for ourselves, but also to share in Ojibwe learning circles for others to learn from as well. Our story focuses on Frankie (Binaasiwe in Ojibwe), a little boy who takes a walk to the garden to greet the plants along his journey. We first collaborated to write the story in English, and then spent the rest of our language meeting times to translate the story to Ojibwe. The process turned out to be so helpful in terms of understanding how Ojibwe is structured, because we might have a sentence that is common in English, but there was no way to write that in Ojibwe. We ended up changing the structure of our story in English, so that the English fit Ojibwe, instead of trying to make Ojibwe fit English. It was such a great project, even if we didn’t get to finish it. Originally, we planned to have illustrations and to use equipment at MSU library to actually put together a real, physical book. At least one of the students plans to finish the project on their own time. 

Additionally, one student decided to use the new words he learned to make a crossword puzzle and word search in Ojibwe!

Participants: Amelia Herron and Andrew Bracken with Fellow Angie (Shinos) Sanchez.


Title: Evolution of Russian Music (Эволюция Русской Музыки)

Watch video here.

Description: Austin, Liam, and Matthew explored several Russian songs from the following periods: World War II, the 1960s/1970s, and the 1980s. Each song is unique. “Oh Fields, My Fields” written by Lev Knipper and Viktor Gusev, Vladimir Vysotsky’s  “I don’t like…,”and Kino’s “(We demand) changes” reflect what happened in Russia at that time. In their presentation, the students talk about major events during each period and why their songs are culturally significant. Austin, Liam, and Matthew also included their favorite lyrics from each song.

Participants: Austin Smith, Liam Timmerman, and Matthew LaBounty with Fellow Dmitrii Pastushenkov


Title: An observatory for music and traditional dishes from Latin America / Un observatorio de música y platos típicos de Latinoamérica

View blog here.

Description: This blog explores the diversity and richness of Latin America. This blog focuses particularly on modern Latin American music, and traditional dishes. Here, we explore the various and different types of musical styles originated in Latin American countries, and also the political context behind them. Furthermore, this blog provides descriptions and recipes of some of the most famous dishes from Latin America, including dishes from countries of the Southern Cone, Caribbean countries, and Mexico.

Participants: Mary Graves and Olivia Haberichter with Fellows Romina Peña-Pincheiraand Silvana Peralta Bogarin.