On Thursday, Oct. 12, dozens of high school students gathered at the University of Maine to take place in the celebration of World Languages Day. Located in various buildings around campus, the fourth annual event celebrated the importance of culture and language in our everyday lives.
With the hope to unite students together and bring awareness to the hundreds of language programs and centers around campus, the event was sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Maine (FLAME), the Department of Modern Languages and Classics and multiple other on-campus organizations.
“I think it’s really important for students on campus to explore all the possibilities that learning a new language brings. As a student who speaks French and English, as well as a little bit of German, I think being multilingual is something to be proud of and celebrate,” Delanie Jones, a first-year student at UMaine, said. “This event is a great way to introduce students to other cultures and languages.”
These students who attended are enrolled in language courses in their schools and took part in poetry writing and reading, dancing, language-related games and many other activities throughout the day.
“Walking past the high school students in Little Hall, I was happy to see just how many people the event brought to our campus. As someone who speaks Spanish and Italian, as well as English, it made me so happy to watch high school students and our faculty here on campus come together and unite over this day,” Toni Tello, a first-year student at UMaine, said.
The students who attended the event were able to get to know other peers who shared the same interests, and meet students from other high schools who are enrolled in the same kinds of language courses. They had the ability to meet and talk face to face, practice their language-speaking skills in conversation with other peers and faculty, and became more familiar with all of the language programs that UMaine has to offer. The students read inspiring poems in different languages, bonded over shared cultural interests, traditions and even paired up to learn a few new moves during cultural dance lessons.
“I can’t wait to be apart of the event next year and get involved with these amazing programs and organizations. Being able to learn and appreciate other languages and cultures is a big part of who we are as an American community, and as a community on campus,” Tello said. “I think everyone should try to learn a new language and expand their knowledge of other cultures. Even using simple and fun phone apps like Duolingo or Babbel could improve your ability to retain and learn a language more fluently.”
The goal of the World Languages Day was to bring students together who have common interests while opening their eyes up to the importance of learning about other countries, their cultures and native languages.