By Jeremy Henderson, Army Flier Staff WriterSeptember 19, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Relocating to a new area can be challenging, especially when you don't speak the native language, but the Fort Rucker Army Community Service now provides classes to help learn the basics.
The Relocation Readiness Basic Conversational Spanish Workshop takes place every Thursday from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Allen Heights Community Center.
Participants will gain a basic understanding of the Spanish language and should be prepared for a fun and interactive class.
"Classes are currently being offered as standalone lessons," Ruth Gonzalez, relocation readiness program manager, said. "It would benefit participants to attend as consistently as possible. Each class reviews previous topics and participants are encouraged to practice with each other. If a participant is unable to attend, class topics are also available for the participant to review and practice at home."
According to Gonzalez, all language workshops are free and open to Soldiers, their families, and Department of Army civilians.
"As participants receive orders to PCS to an area where any of the languages are spoken, they can ease the stress of transitioning by learning the basics of the language and the cultural differences that they may experience," Gonzalez said. "Our [English as a Second Language] workshop assists the spouses who want to be able to function in our country, as well as our area. Learning about the differences in the different areas in the U.S. and the manner in which people speak English helps the spouses in their adaptation to our country.
"Participants meet Soldiers, family members and civilians who will also be moving to a similar location or will be returning to the assignment and want to refresh their language abilities," she added. "Participants are also able to interact with their volunteer instructors who are native born speakers and can share their experiences in the country they represent."
Gonzalez said the workshops were developed in response a Needs assessment offered to the Fort Rucker community.
"Learning another language will always be beneficial to all people," she said. "Although an individual may not be moving to a Spanish-speaking region, our military consists of multi-cultural personnel. Being able to communicate with others within one's unit and understand their cultural differences, helps to build cohesion, understanding and hopefully a sense of camaraderie in a unit."
According to Gonzalez, future workshops will provide the opportunity to learn even more language basics.
"We are currently offering German and Spanish, as well as English as a Second Language for our international spouses," she said. "We hope to be able to offer Korean in the near future."
Future conversational language workshops include:
Spanish Workshop: Every Thursday from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Allen Heights Community Center.
German Workshop: First, second third Tuesday of the month from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Bowden Terrace Leasing Center.
ESL Workshop: Wednesdays from 9-11 a.m. at the Allen Heights Community Center.
"Pre-registration isn't required, but we do ask that anyone interested in attending any of the workshops call the ACS Relocation Readiness office," Gonzalez said. "Classes are conducted by volunteers. If a class is cancelled, we place announcements on the ACS and [Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation] Facebook pages as well as send current participants an email notification. New students will be made aware of any changes to class when they call.
"Relocating in the military can be difficult and stressful, especially when it's your first move away from home or away from your country," she added. "Moving within our United States can be a cultural shock for some of our military if they are inexperienced. By learning another language and the cultural differences that may be associated with the area that you'll be assigned to, Soldiers and family members will hopefully appreciate those differences and not feel threatened by them. It also opens up so many opportunities to meet people of all cultures and experiences as well. Learning a new language and a different culture can help make moving fun and exciting."
For more information, or to register, call 255-2887 or 255-3161.