About us

The World Language Initiative - Montana (formerly Friends of World Language) is comprised of Bozeman area community members who value and support the local and global benefits of world language and culture education.

Our goal is to offer authentic and engaging world language and culture programming, resulting in a more welcoming community, and students who are better prepared for a globalized world.

Comments about world language & culture education from some of our Bozeman k-5 students.

Roam & Natalie discuss
Why they Like Irving's Hour of Enrichment World Language & Culture 

Adele speaks about
What she loves about learning Arabic

The pursuit of bi-lingualism, the celebration and appreciation of world culture, multiculturalism and diversity, and the cultivation of partnerships within the Bozeman area community is at the core of who we are and what we do. Below are some quotes from some of our event business partners and sponsors who support our mission.

Christopher Kirkwood, Rialto Event Manager

Rialto wants to be a cultural hub for music and the arts. We are excited to support world language and culture programming, because the more we collaborate, the more music and culture can be celebrated and grow in Bozeman.

MT Ale Works: Sean Faris & Roth Jordan, owners and Dawn Brown

The more we can promote ethnic diversity in Bozeman then the stronger citizens our children will become.- Roth Jordan

Rocky Mountain Rug Gallery - Jalal, owner

Why world languages? Without communication, you’ve got nothing

View our World Language Initiative-MT 2017-18 Portfolio.

Our story of how the World Language Initiative - MT is one of passion project to professional programming.

Elizabeth Williamson (Founder, Director) with 
Geraldine Govaert (Hyalite World Language PAC Liason)
The original Friends of World Language community group was co-founded by three long-time Bozeman residents in 2012. As parents, they were looking for opportunities to increase their children's exposure to early world language education. Based on conversations with community members, the story of stop and go early language exposure from the 1990s to present was learned. From those experiences, an idea for k-5 both in-school and after-school world language and culture education and enrichment took hold,  and grew to a full-fledged program in 2013.

With support from the Bozeman School District, Elementary School PACs, and Greater Gallatin United Way -  Friends of World Language, now the World Language Initiative - MT, which supports nearly 30 volunteer and paid members. With our partners, we offer before-and/after-school language and culture classes in 8 languages as well as positive multicultural programming for the entire community. Our classes are currently available  after-school at all 8 Bozeman district elementary schools, and at Middle Creek Montessori.

From Passion Project to Professional ~ story about Elizabeth Williamson and the founding of WLI-MT as told by Julie Kleine of MT Parent.

The answer of how to best deliver world language and culture education within our community is still evolving. Our programs are founded on research that identifies early language exposure programs statistically increases the likelihood of fluency as adults. We also believe in the importance of authentic, play-based programming that incorporates dynamic activities as well as exposure to language in a cultural context. We work hard to deliver as much of our classes as possible in the target language (goal for all of our coaches is to be >70%) as well as content integration language education approaches using art, cooking, and play).

See a full listing of our 2019-20 World Language & Culture in-school and out-of-school day programs.

2017-18 Team Members (Staff, Board, Coaches, PAC Volunteers)
In 2019, we will to work towards a vision of a vibrant, multi-lingual community, and are working to improve access to the understanding of, and opportunities for world language and culture - in the City of Bozeman, Gallatin County, the State of Montana, and in the Intermountain West. We focus on best practices in early language education and the importance of teaching within a cultural context in ways that are authentic, engaging and exciting to students.

We look forward to strengthening this program and having a positive impact on the development of our community's children into 21st century global citizens.

Our 2018-19 team of World Language educators at
December 2018 "Best Practices" Training