The original Friends of World Language community group was co-founded by three long-time Bozeman community members, Elizabeth Williamson, Abigail Breuer, & Kate Wright in 2012. As parents of young children, they were looking for ways to increase elementary-aged student access to world language & culture education. Based on conversations with community members and like-minded parents, the idea for a k-5 world language & culture classes took hold and grew to a full-fledged after-school program in 2013.
With support from School District Administrators, Elementary School PACs, Greater Gallatin United Way, and community members, Friends of World Language, now the World Language Initiative - MT, has grown to offers after-school and in-school day language and culture k-5 classes at 11 Bozeman Area Schools and a k-8 Summer Camp Immersion language program, as well as evening Adult Language Classes at The Emerson Cultural Center.
In 2019, WLI-MT served nearly 1000 Bozeman Area elementary and middle school-aged students with authentic language and culture learning opportunities. Over 75 adults (ages 15-100) participated in our Adult Language program.
WLI-MT's guiding mission is to improve access to authentic and dynamic world language and culture learning opportunities, in the City of Bozeman, Gallatin County, the State of Montana, and in the Intermountain West. The answer of how to best deliver world language and culture education within our community is still evolving. As we work with our education communities to answer this question, our team of passionate language educators are growing a vibrant, multi-lingual community, with authentic and dynamic in-school and out-of-school day language learning programs. We look forward to many years of strengthening our programs and having a positive impact on the development of our community into proficient 2nd language speakers & 21st century global citizens.