Oregon students dive into language and culture

EUGENE, Ore. - Over a thousand Oregon high school students attended a foreign language and culture event at the University of Oregon Friday on Friday.

The 36th annual Foreign Language and International Studies Day, organized by the Yamada Language Center, took place across the UO campus May 2.

High school students had the chance to select from more than 100 presentations from the UO’s 15 different foreign language, linguistics and international studies programs and departments.

Presentations, with more than 15 choices every hour, ranged from Food & Music of Bangladesh to Feast Like an Arab to Hatha Yoga to Dance Africa.

Ursula Nash, who teaches German at Grants Pass High School, said the event was a great opportunity for her students to visit the University and explore other cultures.

“Not a lot of the students have seen a college campus,” Nash said. “It's a great opportunity for them to experience the variety of cultures and what are, to them, exotic languages.”

Nash said she finds that after students attend the event, they have a renewed sense of enthusiasm for language.

“They kind of infect other students with the bug too because they come back and say how interesting it was,” Nash said.

Emma Brenneman, the volunteer coordinator for the event, said there was a certain sense of excitement to have high school students learning on campus.

“The value of a field trip can never be overstated,” Brenneman said. “Students find it’s fun to learn.”

The presenters also benefited from the demonstrations and students’ visit.

Mokaya Bosire, a Swahili Instructor, said teaching language gives him a sense of purpose.

“It validates my language, my culture, and my identity,” he said. “It situates me in the globalized yet local world. If others get to know my language, they will perhaps understand my world view and be able to respect the distance I have traveled in learning theirs.”