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Harvard University to also offer Advanced Filipino course next year |

Arts and Culture

Harvard University to also offer Advanced Filipino course next year

Kristofer Purnell -
Harvard University to also offer Advanced Filipino course next year
A view of the campus of Harvard University on July 8, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Getty Images via AFP / Maddie Meyer

MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino language will continue to be taught at the prestigious Ivy League school Harvard University at an advanced level next year.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Harvard would be offering a Filipino language for the first time in its nearly 400-year history.

Last week, the university welcomed Lady Aileen Orsal, a former faculty member of Cavite State University, as the first-ever instructor of the new Filipino course.

As the course preceptor, Orsal will be responsible for teaching five Tagalog language courses per year, and the Fall 2023 term has already began with Orsal teaching Elementary and Intermediate Filipino.

According to Harvard's website, 14 students are enrolled in the Elementary class while one student enrolled in the Intermediate class; both lecture classes are from Monday to Thursday until December 5 in the Cambridge Campus of the school.

Orsal teaches the classes back-to-back in the mornings and will do so again during the Spring 2024 term — but back-to-back in the afternoon, Tuesday to Friday from January 22 to April 24 — as 15 slots each open up again for interested students.

Related: Harvard teaching Tagalog course for the first time in nearly 400-year history

The Elementary course teaches vocabulary, basic grammar, introduction to concepts relevant to Philippine culture, basic texts in the family, school, and community settings, and conversational dialogue.

The Intermediate course will teach more complex sentence structures and texts within Filipino culture, traditions, history and contemporary topics, and build what has been learned prior in the Elementary course.

Students interested in taking the Intermediate course but have yet to take an introductory class will need to take a placement test administered by Orsal to ensure they meet the qualifications.

Orsal will also be teaching an Advanced class next term in the evenings right after the Intermediate class, again a placement test must be administered should interested students want to enlist and have prior knowledge of Filipino.

This as the Advanced class will involve longer Filipino texts, conversing, writing reports, and reviewing topics in Filipino, making formal and informal presentations using Filipino, and build opinions on social issues relevant to a Philippine context and the global Filipino perspective.

Sometime next year, Orsal is hoping to finish both her Master of Arts in Communication from the Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in Philippine Studies from De La Salle University.

RELATED: Cavite teacher makes history as Harvard University's first-ever Filipino language instructor

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