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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Share your experiences on receiving language training/refresher in your unit

Since becoming a linguist in 2004-2005 I have received three major refresher training events. These events were the ONLY events I have received major OR minor, despite the fact that it is directed by AR 11-6 to have a language program in a unit. Some of that has been the fault of my unit, and some has been language has been *somewhat* made available to me, but mission always takes precedence so leaving my platoon was not always feasible even if it was presented (which again I guess goes back on the unit for not MAKING time).

The three events I received were five weeks of refresher training at Fort Gordon, Fort Meade, and Garmisch, Germany.

It is especially difficult to get in as a 35M as many of these schools only accept 35P and you need a waiver or to convince the registrar to let you in (or your CLPM must do the convincing).

You also need to have a valid DLPT in most instances, so if you are expired or so far low (like if you are a 0+/0+) you normally cannot get in either.

What successes or failures have you had in your units in getting a successful language program started? Usually I've found the biggest hindrance to be money and budget. It costs quite a bit to send someone to language refresher.

One option for you is to ask your unit if you can go to PLTCE in Garmisch (assuming they teach your language). The reason is, it's actually cheaper than going to refresher CONUS (although they won't believe you when you tell them that, they will think you are just trying to "get over" by going to Germany). Why? Because you a) aren't authorized a rental car, b) stay in the barracks, c) eat at the chow hall so no per diem. The only cost to the unit is the cost of the actual class plus airfare and a pittance of per diem (I think I only go $6/day). Usually at a place like Meade you would be paying around a grand for a rental car, plus air fare, plus over $100/day for a hotel and about 40-60 per day for food. So in comparison, I think my trip to Garmisch cost about 1/8 of what it cost to send me to Meade, if not even less.

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