Updated: Dec 6, 2019
“As local language organizations, we support educators and professionals dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning world languages…We are confident that the extensive and rich professional development offered during the ACTFL Convention and World Languages Expo will provide ample ideas on how to promote the success of learners in our nation and in our world.” —ACTFL Conference Program Guide
This year’s ACTFL conference was in Washington, D.C., a city steeped in history and very multicultural. This was my first time participating in a national conference as a (co)presenter, so this opportunity was both exciting and meaningful for me. It was a very rewarding experience, and I am very thankful for Professor Kim, who gave us the opportunity and guided us through the entire process of attending the conference.
Thirty minutes before the presentation, Professor Kim sat down with me and the other student co-presenter to practice the presentation. From her, I learned a few important things that a presenter should always do: get there on time, be fully prepared, and find the presentation room ahead of time.
Our presentation went well, and the audience participated by asking challenging yet meaningful questions. Thinking back, it was an amazing experience standing on the podium and talking in front of an audience of language teachers. My initial nervousness was quickly replaced by a sense of pride and accomplishment, because we successfully presented the study.
After a tasty brunch of Korean food with Professor Kim, we went to the World Language Expo located in the north building of the convention center. It was eye-opening to see such a huge number of booths, companies, and participants—a variety of language-learning products that can be useful for language teachers. For example, there are technology companies that design educational games for Chinese learning, travel companies that offer language immersion trips, and Korean textbook publishers that produce illustrated practice booklets for Korean learners. We stopped by many booths, including EF, Pearson, China Higher Education Press, and others, and we had engaging conversations with the representatives.
The ACTFL Convention offers a wide variety of sessions that participants can choose to attend according to our different interests. On Sunday morning, my peer and I went to a session named “Learning Chinese Tea Culture Through Visual Art.” It was fun, engaging, and rewarding.
Overall, everything about this trip was way beyond my expectations. It allowed me to discover the “fun” aspect of being at an academic conference and really opened my eyes to the cutting edge intellectual products in language teaching. After this convention trip to Washington, D.C., I feel more confident about conducting research studies and can now imagine myself as a future researcher.