Celebrating Foreign Languages Day

By Cynthia Pereira, Contributing Writer
Featured image by Natalie Jeffery

The Department of Foreign Languages highlighted all the languages Towson has to offer at Foreign Languages Day on Nov. 15 in the University Union. Faculty and student representatives of the department had the opportunity to share a piece of their culture with the Towson student body with food, activities and events.

“It’s a great way to showcase not only the languages that we teach and the culture, but the vibrant community of students we have in our department who are really engaged in learning,” said event coordinator and Spanish professor Diego del Pozo.

The University offers 12 different foreign languages throughout the department that include languages from almost every continent.

At Foreign Languages Day, there were different tables at the event led by each foreign language department and affiliated clubs such as the Towson-UDEP Movement for Environmental Education (Towson-UDEP MEE).

Attendees experienced traditional Japanese snacks and egg rolls, learned to write their names in Hebrew and Arabic, and enjoyed traditional Italian fruit bread, among other cultural activities. The students were also able to learn about the environmental research and work that is being done through the Towson-UDEP MEE club.

“We help fundraise money and send money to impoverished schools in Peru, and help build lesson plans that the schools can use for their young students,” said senior international studies major Santiago Villarreal.

The afternoon started with a guitar performance by a guitarist duo named Duo Amaral. The duo is composed of Israeli and Portuguese guitarists Jorge Amaral and Mia Pomerantz-Amaral, who play Spanish music. 

This act was followed by the students having the opportunity to walk around to each table at the event and learn about the different languages and cultures.

“It’s my first event here at Towson and it is cool to look at different cultures and try different foods,” said senior deaf studies major Joy Stephanie Telan. “I love that I was able to learn how to write my name in different languages like in Arabic and Hebrew.”

Towson faculty Thamiris Cunha led students and professors in a samba lesson. Cunha is a teaching assistant teaching Portuguese at Towson through a Fulbright Scholarship. She is originally from Brazil and has gone to school at places such as Peking University in China and Universidad de Salamanca in Spain.

Cunha explained how learning about different cultures and traveling has impacted her life.

“When you learn languages, when you open your mind to different cultures, it’s amazing,” Cunha said. “It changes the way you see the world. It’s a life-changing opportunity. It’s incredible.”

The Samba lessons were shortly followed by a solo performance by Eyal Bor, a professor of Hebrew. He performed the Hava Nagila, a traditional Hebrew song, on the clarinet. He and his wife Hana Bor, who is an associate professor and program director of Jewish and Hebrew studies at Towson, were in charge of the Hebrew table at the event.

Later on, attendees played a big game of Kahoot! in which they joined an open online quiz and answered questions about different cultures and languages. The winners won prizes that were provided by the foreign languages department such as a picture of Cuba’s unique cars and a gift basket of Italian goodies.

The eventful afternoon was brought to an end with a huge game of Bingo where participants learned the names of different objects in different languages.

“I encourage everybody to take a foreign language because it is a life changing opportunity and opens your mind to the world,” del Pozo said.

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