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April 11, 2022

the School of Letters and International Cultures held its annual meeting Language Fair online last month for the second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, which has been going on for almost 25 years, highlights the activities of the university more than 20 language programs to prospective Arizona high school students.

Previous years’ events have attracted up to 2,500 attendees, said the instructor of Arab Oumar Sulaymanthe coordinator of the Salon des Langues.

Musical instruments cover a table at a language fair the year before. This year’s music-themed event was held online for the second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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This year’s event focused on the theme of music, which was represented in activities such as a virtual scavenger hunt as well as mini-lessons given by representatives from each language program.

Another crucial part of the Language Fair is diorama competitions, posters, poetry recitations, dramatic performances and role-playing exercises. The various activities provide high school students with multiple entry points to learn languages ​​and cultures and enhance their existing knowledge.

Lecturer in Chinese Xia Zhangwho has been attending the Language Fair for about 20 years, coordinated the Chinese language competition this year and, together with colleagues, also met potential students to teach mini language courses and detail course offerings from the chinese program and Chinese language flagship program.

“Learning a foreign language is not just about learning the language itself. It opens a window for people to learn and better understand different cultures and perspectives in the United States and other countries,” Zhang said. “For those interested in such a trip, the (school’s) programs will provide an excellent, engaging and enjoyable learning experience.”

German teacher Sarah Lee agree, noting that the students she spoke with were excited about the opportunities that a minor or major in German — or any other language — could provide. For example, she spoke to students about internships in Germany and how studying a language can give an edge when navigating the job market.

In addition to discussing career potential with high school students, Lee also taught them and their parents to speak some German. They learned how to greet each other, ask simple questions and carry on a conversation using phrases such as “Mein name ist _____” (My name is _____) and “Wo wohnst du? ” (Where do you live?).

Even 15 minutes of vocabulary learning and pronunciation practice can be helpful, and these activities establish a foundation for future language study. Sulayman said the school has seen an increase in language course enrollment over the past few years, and he credits the Language Fair for sparking interest in the school’s many programs.

Umar Suleyman is wearing khaki pants and a navy sweater.  He is looking at the camera with his hands clasped in front of his body.  A man and woman stand on either side of him wearing blue jeans and brown shirts that say

Arabic teacher Umar Sulayman (center) is the coordinator of the Language Fair.

“The mini-courses continue to be a great success as they offer high school students the opportunity to be taught by our teachers. It’s a way to show high school students that attending ASU isn’t as intimidating as they think, so they can see how friendly and helpful our teachers are,” he said. declared.

The mini-lessons incorporated languages ​​from all school curricula and even some not currently offered by the school.

Comparative culture and language medecine studient Gina Scarpete Walters volunteered as an instructor at the Language Fair for the first time this year, teaching a modern Greek mini-lesson – currently only ancient Greek is taught as part of the school’s curriculum classics program – to give students “a taste of a great European civilisation”.

Scarpete Walters noted that two Greek holidays fell on the date of the Language Fair, March 25: the Feast of the Annunciation and Greek Independence Dayalso known as the celebration of the Greek Revolution of 1821.

She introduced the theme of music into her lesson by sharing the Greek anthem with the students, along with discussions about traditional customs and food, the Greek alphabet, and the history of modern Greek.

“The Language Fair’s mission to promote language learning and cultural diversity brings to life the purpose of our studies and the legacies that give meaning to our words,” said Scarpete Walters.

Lecturer in Spanish Dulce Estevez was able to connect with students about her own heritage as a Mexican woman who attended a high school in Phoenix and became a faculty member at ASU.

Estévez talked to high school students about their various options for incorporating language learning into their college plans. With Spanish, in particular, ASU students can choose between a minor and a major; they can pursue master’s and doctoral studies; they can participate in study programs abroad or obtain a certificate; and they can also register for Spanish Heritage Trail for those who grew up with Spanish speakers. Spanish language skills and cultural competence are frequently used in careers in fields ranging from medicine and law to engineering and architecture.

“Having a double major with (the school) is very beneficial and easier to achieve than most people imagine,” Estévez said. “That’s why meeting the teachers during the Language Fair is such a beneficial experience for secondary students.”

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