BY SARAH LOFSTROM '19
Mount Holyoke College is known for being home to a diverse body of students who embrace many different cultures from around the world. On Sept. 29, the Language Resource Center celebrated these cultures and the languages associated with them at the World Language Festival held in Blanchard Great Room.
Students who attended completed crafts, sang karaoke and played a language-themed game in order to win international prizes. The “LRC Universal Passport,” picked up from the information desk, kept track of the activities students completed by awarding them stickers. After students participated in two activities, they could pick out three items as prizes. The prizes included temporary flag tattoos, an origami container with stickers inside, Ferrero Rocher truffles, red bean cakes and Choco-Pies. The craft stations gave students a simple way to engage with another culture by creating a friendship bracelet or a bookmark. At the game table, the game of the night was “Guess That Language,” where participants listened to five audio recordings and had to guess which language was being spoken. Both of these stations were especially appealing to those who may not have experienced learning a language, because they did not require any prior knowledge. Three microphones lined the stage where the karaoke took place. Students could request any foreign language song and perform in front of their peers. When no one was performing karaoke, the speakers played songs in foreign languages and projected music videos above the stage.
The main goal of the event was to introduce the LRC to students and to encourage the study of foreign languages. It was designed to appeal to people of all experience levels and backgrounds. The LRC also hosts smaller and more focused events throughout the year, including movie nights, language workshops and celebrations of international holidays.
LRC worker Sania Sharif ’19 described learning languages as “a way of learning new perspectives about other people and to learn about other cultures. It’s a new way of seeing things.”
Sarjana Jaiswal ’18, who also works at the LRC, said, “I hope that [participants] will know how fun it is to learn even one additional language,” and that visitors will learn that “Mount Holyoke offers a wide variety of resources to help people in their experience of learning languages.” Savannah Harriman-Pote ’20 is not currently studying a language but intends to next semester. “This kind of event is helpful to see what’s out there and what is on campus,” said Harriman-Pote. “We’re becoming an increasingly global society and if we’re going to work together, we need to understand how to communicate with one another.”