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Friday, May 31, 2013

World Languages Day 2013: Changes and Successes

World Languages Day (WLD) 2013 saw many new developments and changes this time around. This year WLD attracted approximately 1,000 high school students, came home to the East Bank, and featured smaller, more personal Welcoming Remarks.
WLD began gradually and humbly as energetic volunteers directed students from school buses and instructors checked in to teach their classes. For breakfast, croissants were served with beverages in the indoor courtyard of Rapson Hall.

To acquaint high school students with the University of Minnesota's vast campus, Admissions Guides took the students on a short tour the Knoll area, so they could see their classroom buildings.

Several schools attended, comprising a variety of studied languages:

  • Avalon (Spanish)

  • Apple Valley (French)

  • Augsburg Fairview Academy (Spanish)

  • Cannon Falls (Spanish)

  • Coon Rapids (French and Spanish)

  • Melrose Area High School (Spanish

  • Milaca (Chinese)

  • Park High School (ASL, French, German, Spanish)

  • Robbinsdale Cooper (French, Spanish)

  • South High School (Spanish)

  • St. Louis Park (French, German, Hebrew, Spanish)

  • St. Anthony Village High School (Spanish)

  • Washburn (English)

  • Zumbrota-Mazeppa (Chinese)

Speakers led multiple Welcoming Remarks to smaller groups of people this year in Nicholson Hall, Folwell Hall, Rapson Hall, and Jones Hall. After the introduction to WLD, informative college readiness classes began and were received with largely positive reactions.

One high school teacher noted in a comment form:

"I really enjoyed the welcoming remarks by a undergrad student this year, instead of the dean. I think my students related better to a young person telling his experiences as a college student. Our 'Preparing for College' class was also excellent in that it really showed my sophomores the financial importance of going to college; a great motivator!"

   -High school teacher on 'Preparing for College' class

The first session of language and culture classes began and the diversity of courses elicited a variety of reactions from students and teachers. Most high school students noted in comment forms that the classes were interesting and informative. Many students highlighted that the college instructors were engaging and knowledgeable of the material.

A high point in World Languages Day is inspiring young high school students to pursue language-related studies, cultural experiences, and college. One student expressed their positive and influential World Languages Day experience by commenting,

"This was the best field trip I have ever done! It gave me a bit of the campus and I really liked it since I think I might want to attend U of M."
-High school student

Another student noted the enjoyment of learning more about a language of his or her cultural heritage:

"Very fun, went home to my Italian dad & grandma and was able to show them what I learned!! Very nice teacher. I wish my high school taught Italian, and I can't wait to take it when I hopefully attend U of M!"
-High school student who took 'Introduction to Italian: Benvenuti!' class

This student commented their enjoyment and surprise:

"At first I thought it was going to be hard but after 5 minutes I liked it! I felt like I was in China!"
-High school student in 'Experiencing Chinese Language' class

At lunchtime high school students and teachers dispersed into campus and chose their own lunch locations. Staff and volunteers headed to Jones Hall to eat Mesa pizza, salad, and beverages.

The afternoon ended with students departing and loading back onto school buses, as volunteers packed up and cleaned. According to comments, many students left with positive impressions and were inspired to further pursue studying foreign languages and cultures.

1 comment:

Henning Gustavsen said...

World Language Day is such a great idea. I'm sure a lot of other universities have something to learn from the University of Minnesota. I believe it is very important for students to learn another language in addition to their own. It actually stimulates the brain and gives you new and interesting perspectives of life. You had a lot of languages on WLD, however since it is The University of Minnesota I must say I missed some Scandinavian languages, mostly because I'm a Norwegian I suppose :)

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