Institute of Strategic Languages and Cultures

Institute of Strategic Languages and Cultures

Welcome to ISLC!

The Institute of Strategic Languages & Cultures (ISLC) is devoted to providing Christian workers with essential training for complex cultures. You can quickly learn Russian or Chinese in one of our year-round or summer language programs.

A Word from our Director about language learning

As servants of Christ, the journey into the language of the people to whom we are called is directly linked with our entry into their culture, their world and their trust.  It is the deepest desire of true cross-cultural servants to adapt in such a way as to promote trust in their new culture and have the greatest impact on the lives of those entrusted to them.  Learning to communicate is the bedrock and key to gaining this trust.  However, depending on the approach that is taken, the effort to learn a second (or foreign) language can either be one of the most rewarding adventures in life, or an experience fraught with frustration and even depression.

Much has been learned in the field of SLA (Second Language Acquisition) over the past several decades about the types of adult language-learning strategies that produce the most native-like speakers.  At ISLC it is our goal to develop language programs that take into account the principles and strategies that have been demonstrated to be most effective for developing native-like proficiency.  We believe that it is time for missions professionals to move far beyond the mere fluency (the ability to speak with native-like speed) that is developed through naturalistic approaches, tutors and immersion on the mission field, and develop in their missions candidates true native-like proficiency, which includes native-like fluency, accuracy (grammatical inflections or morphology), complexity (syntax), and pronunciation.

We now know that the best approaches take into account both the target language and the individual learner’s profile and that all resources should and can be brought to bear to enable true proficiency.  That is why ISLC provides every learner with his or her learning profile.  That is why training at ISLC emphasizes both communicative abilities and grammatical accuracy.  And that is why we provide learners with the kind of mentors and instructors who are both compassionate servants of our students and excellent teachers who understand the most effective learning principles and can apply the finest methods to the learning experience.

This striving for excellence is due to one important aspect of who we are: we at ISLC do not see our “institute” as a school.  For us, it is a calling of God to help to equip you to serve Him in these cultures in a way that will remove the obstacles to native-like abilities in the language and promote effective acculturation and ultimately successful discipleship.  The result of this calling has been that ISLC allumni in the former Soviet Union have been known as some of the finest American speakers of Russian working in that vast region.  This is not so much a testament to what ISLC can do, as it is to what God can do through us when He leads even when resources are tight.  So, I want to thank you for giving ISLC a look as you consider where and how you will approach learning your new language.  May God’s richest blessings of grace, peace, and strength guide you and keep you for your own personal journey into your new culture and His perfect will!

-Marc T. Canner, PhD

Mandarin Chinese Classes now Available!

The Chinese language institute is now up and running. Part-time courses began Fall, 2012 and a full-time summer institute is planned for 2015!  Click on the Evening Language Courses tab for information about part-time study or contact us about other programs – classes are forming now.

We offer a full-time (5 days/week) intensive Russian language program, summer full-time Russian and Mandarin Chinese language programs, and part-time year-round programs for both Russian and Chinese.

We are currently developing a full-time language and culture program for Mandarin Chinese, with potential for Arabic in the near future. Interested? Click here to learn more about the Arabic Language Institute, or here to learn about the Chinese Language Institute.

Our World

Of all the important regions in the world, China, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union stand out as strategic areas for which workers must be thoroughly prepared and trained in order to maximize their potential and ensure success.

The three dominant languages in these regions are among the most difficult to learn for English speakers. The cultures there are influential and complex. And the spiritual needs are acute, making such cultures strategic. A strategic culture is defined as one that has a widespread influence over a large region of the world and presents Christian workers with formidable challenges in cultural assimilation, language acquisition, and apologetics.

For the untrained, the trials of life and ministry there may mean disappointment and an early ticket home. The Institute of Strategic Languages and Cultures exists to equip you with the basic language and cross-cultural skills you will need to make a lasting impact. To be trained for life and ministry in these cultures, you need someone who has been down the same road. A person who knows what it takes to make it there: a mentor. We provide several mentors, both American and native-speaking instructors, who will teach you to speak these languages proficiently. Their passion is to enable you to reach your target culture for Christ. They assist you in understanding your new adopted culture and adapting to a totally different way of life.  At ISLC, our mission is to invest in your training so that you can fulfill your calling and stay the course on the field.

ISLC is an inter-denominational organization committed to providing essential cross-cultural and language training for Christian workers who are preparing to serve God in the most challenging contexts.  Though the cultures of the Arab, Chinese and Russian worlds are some of the earth’s most strategic and challenging cultures, we continue to explore opportunities to offer training for other strategic languages and cultures as God leads.  We appreciate your prayers!

ISLC Goals

  • To equip workers with the cross-cultural skills to be proficient at serving in their target culture.
  • To provide quality Russian, Arabic and Chinese language programs that will accelerate language learning so that workers are equipped to work effectively within their new culture as soon as possible.
  • To provide workers with a broad understanding of the worldviews prevalent in their new cultures.

Our Location

ISLC is located in Spokane, Washington near Moody Bible Institute, with whom we are developing a strategic partnership to equip workers with the knowledge and skills they need to make Christ known among the nations.  Please address any correspondence to:

ISLC

P.O. Box 212667

Columbia, SC  29221

(803) 333-9119

Over 6.5 billion people living in 195 countries including over 1,500 different cultures and speaking over 5,000 languages.

There are billions of people living in our world today

How many of them know Jesus as their personal Savior?

China has a great need for church leadership training.

It is also home of one of the hardest languages to learn.

The need to equip workers for the Arab world is greater than it has ever been.

The needs are overwhelming. Are you ready to make an impact on the Arab world?

The Russian world – wracked by a thousand years of violent and oppressive history…

A challenging language and complex culture in great need of Christ.

Of all the important regions in the world, China, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union stand out as strategic areas for which workers must be thoroughly prepared and trained in order to maximize their potential and ensure success.

The three dominant languages in these regions are among the most difficult to learn. The cultures there are influential and complex. And the spiritual needs are acute, making such cultures strategic: A strategic culture is defined as one that has a widespread influence over a large region of the world and presents Christian workers with formidable challenges in cultural assimilation, language acquisition, and apologetics.

Russian Speaking Countries

Russian Speaking Countries