Multicultural Counseling and Social Justice Competencies
Multicultural Counseling and Soicial Justice Competencies Malcom X MuralPicture of Tibetan Woman
Home Page Image
Photo of SFU Multicultural MuralPhoto of Indigenous WomanClose-Up Photo of SFU Multicultural Mural
Language Study

(Level 3 Activity)

There are several ways in which language enhances understanding of culture.

  1. Fluency in a client’s preferred language allows for the best possible chance of accurate two way communication.
  2. Language is one of the important ways culture is communicated and operationalized. The process and content of language conveys information about values, beliefs, and social structure. Language can also act to include or exclude.
  3. “Lost in translation”. There are certain words, phrases, or ideas that are not easily translated into another language.

To use language study as a method of gaining greater understanding of the worldview of your clients, identify the language and dialect that is most similar to the clients you are serving. Immersion language programs can provide the best opportunity to not only learn the language, but also gain a greater sense of empathy for the experience of clients who struggle with English. Feelings such as alienation, confusion, and disconnectedness with the dominant community, a longingness for one’s own language and own people can be exerienced through language immersion of two weeks or more and can give a glimpse of what immigrants and those with limited English may experience on a day-to-day experience. Some organizations that provide information regarding immersion programs also integrate service to the community along with language instruction. At the bottom of this page, a sample of such programs are listed.

Immersion language programs:

Mar de Jade, Nayarit, Mexico

Return to Client Worldview Activities or Culturally Relevant Interventions


welcome | developing competence | continuing education | resources | learning activities | about | user agreement | artwork | FAQs | feedback

©Rebecca L. Toporek (2008)