Featured Instructor: Charlene Nemec 74 countries and counting...
Growing up in a small town, Charlene Nemec never imagined she'd see the world, let alone teach others about its countries and cultures. Seventy countries and several OLLI lectures later, Charlene is still traveling and making plans for her next lecture.
A Spanish teacher for 30 years, Charlene currently works for the Bismarck School system. She realized early on that in order to appropriately teach a language, she had to understand the language and culture behind it. With that mindset, Charlene set out to visit Spanish-speaking countries like Spain, Mexico and Peru. Several trips later, Charlene recognized her love for travel.
When asked to name her favorite trip, Charlene responded, "I can't narrow it down, but Russia and China are high on my list, Kenya and Tanzania because of the animals, and Vietnam was also very enjoyable."
A few years back, after exploring ways to share her journeys and knowledge, she discovered the OLLI program.
"They're (OLLI members) so interested in everything and they're appreciative of everything. I teach an adult Sunday school class as well, and when I'm willing to do the research and present to them, they're very willing to make an attempt to learn," Charlene explained.
Her upcoming six-week course, Experience the Spanish Language and Culture, takes place in Bismarck on Tuesdays from March 24 – April 28. As far as teaching style, Charlene uses a similar approach to her high school language courses, interweaving culture into the lessons.
Some of Charlene's past OLLI courses include, Russia: From Tsars & Tsarinas to Communism and More Spanish for Fun. While she hasn't committed to future OLLI courses, the wheels are always turning. The history of Cuba, the Sicilian mafia in Italy, and a combined Spanish art and history course are all topics of interest for Charlene.
Charlene already has plans to add to her list of 74 countries. With a visit to Mongolia next summer and several other countries on her bucket list, she'll continue to travel, learn and share her adventures!
Learn more about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UND by visiting UND.edu/olli.