Len Barcousky (Barkauskas) | Intermediate Lithuanian @ BALSSI 2015
What did I get out of my experiences as a student in 2014 and 2015 at BALSSI? A working vocabulary of about 1,000 words, ability to use verb tenses and a basic understanding of number, case and gender in grammatical forms. That technical knowledge, however, was the less important part of what I learned from my teacher, Dalia Cidzikaite. I was encouraged to be fearless in experimenting with my new language skills. I gained confidence in writing, speaking, reading and singing in the language of my grandparents. I worked as hard in class as I ever have in 40 years of doing daily journalism. I found that hard work paying off with concrete improvement after each day and week of a truly intensive program. At age 65 I was not only the oldest student at BALSSI, but likely older than anyone else on the entire faculty and staff at SLI. Age proved to be no barrier to interaction with my follow students as we regularly ate together, sang together and joked about our struggles and complaints. By the end of six weeks I was exhausted, but exhilarated. I now will study on my own and have a book project in mind. The program required financial and personal sacrifice. Although BALSSI provides scholarship aid, I had to take a leave from work and from doing almost every household chore and activity. Would I do it again? Would I recommend it to other serious students of any age? In a heartbeat.