On Friday in the Newcomb Ballroom, the Institute of World Languages kicked off their annual Fall Language Symposium.
The event featured several guest speakers who discussed topics such as the importance of language to the US economy, the benefits of bilingualism, and the state of international education in the 21st century. There were also different interactive sessions led by panels of experts along with showcase events for each of UVa’s language departments.
Many students however, came to the symposium to simply meet other students passionate about their respective languages.
“As a native French speaker, it’s interesting to meet native Creole speakers,” said fourth-year Louis Curau in reference to the similarities between the two languages.
“If I wasn’t a fourth year I might have considered taking it.” Curau added that he currently takes Italian because he lived near Italy and is fascinated by the country’s culture.
Student Gabby Patterson also showed a keen interest in Creole.
“I took French in middle school and I thought it would be interesting to learn a language that shared some characteristics with French but also had some unique qualities in its own right,” she said.
Around lunchtime, many of UVa’s language departments set up tables staffed by students to answer questions about each language department and share opportunities to get involved. Students were able to practice speaking with other students as well as learn about other languages offered at the university.
“Overall, there was a really good atmosphere” said first-year Italian student Andrew Garcia. “I was able to get a quick glimpse of what each of
the different language departments had to offer and got information that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.”
Garcia added that the event helped push him towards possibly studying abroad for a semester.
While the symposium is now over, students are still encouraged to contact language department heads for information and course advising. From those looking to study abroad to those simply fulfilling language requirements, every College student needs to choose a language at some point. For this reason, UVa is one of the most globalized universities in the country.