The Oldenborg Center for Modern Languages and International Relations was founded to provide students with a living experience of international education. Each year, around 129 students choose to live in foreign language sections that are devoted to programs focusing on six cultures and languages: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.
Oldenborg Center sponsors a wide variety of curricular and co-curricular activities, some of which are open to the entire college community For example, students, staff and faculty from across the Claremont Consortium attend the daily foreign language lunch tables and the Oldenborg Luncheon Colloquium (OLC), both of which take place in the Center’s own dining hall. Students can enroll in conversation courses, taught by the language residents, in all six of the Pomona languages. Basic instruction in Persian and Swahili now augment these offerings. In addition, events such as Karaoke Night, Starlight Cinema, Open House, and the study breaks and cultural activities hosted by the seven language residents provide a host of more informal opportunities for students to engage with foreign languages and cultures on campus.
Language Residents are university graduates from abroad who are native speakers of either Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish. Each year, Oldenborg recruits, hires, and trains these young professionals to come to Pomona College to mentor and instruct students in the target language via the various structured opportunities outlined above. Given these opportunities for teaching, learning, and sharing, it is no surprise that the Language Resident Program in many ways constitutes the heart of Oldenborg. Each Language Resident lives in his or her own private apartment, adjacent to the language lounge, amongst students in the relevant language wing. Language lounges serve as both an academic and social space; lounges are stocked with periodicals, books, games and flat screen monitors with laptop inputs. Language Residents hold their conversation courses there, as well as study breaks for Oldenborg residents and other interested students.
The Center also houses the Virginia Glass Memorial Conference Room, an International Theatre, and several Ethernet-linked computers for student use. Oldenborg Center administers a number of programs in its efforts to promote the teaching and learning of foreign languages and international studies on campus. The Foreign Language Resource Center in 101 Mason, the Language Fellow Program (advanced peer tutoring), the College Exchange Visitor Program (J visa), the Oldenborg International Research and Travel Grant are all examples. For more information, please e-mail the Director of Oldenborg Center Rita Bashaw.