Foreign language week features a cultural showcase
Colleen Farrell | Thursday, February 16, 2023
The University held the Foreign Language Week culture fair on Wednesday, showcasing food, music and presentations of various cultures from around the world. The event occurred in the Dahnke Ballroom in Duncan Student Center and featured booths and performances from many language departments and cultural groups.
Junior Becca Kubick worked at the booth for the Spanish club, which had candies from Spanish-speaking countries as well as paper and scissors for making paper picador, a traditional Mexican craft. She spoke about the benefits the culture fair offers for Notre Dame students.
“A lot of people in a university like this are so wrapped up in the school and the academics that they forget to incorporate extracurriculars, specifically culture,” Kubick said. “It’s a really good opportunity for everyone to remind themselves of the importance to learn about different cultures because we’ve seen so many others just by being here.”
Sabina Iusupova, a Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant, hosted an event showcasing Russian food on Tuesday as well as a booth for decorating Russian nesting dolls at the culture fair. She explained that Foreign Language Week was important to her because of her goal to share Russian culture with the world.
“Right now… there [aren’t] that many opportunities to go and visit Russia. So, it’s like, I’m bringing Russia here.” Iusupova said.
Jefferson Saransig, a Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant of the Quechua language, hosted a booth featuring a traditional kind of embroidery from Ecuador.
He noted how the culture fair helps Notre Dame students learn about less well-known languages.
“This [week] gives students the chance to know that there are more languages, not only the big languages like Spanish, French, Italian but in this case, for example, many people came to this table because they were interested in the embroidery activity, but then they started asking about the language, the Quechua language,” he explained. “So I think this is a great [idea] for the languages and for students to get to know that there are many other options, many other languages that they can study here.”
Monica Jancha, an associate teaching professor for the department of romance languages and literature, explained how the culture fair helps the department reach out to students and celebrate the four romance languages studied by the department.
“You can connect with the students who might be interested in taking our languages or who already do take our languages to celebrate with them the cultures of our department,” Jancha said.
She mentioned the many student-run clubs related to romance languages and explained the role these organizations play in Foreign Language Week.
“There are student-run organizations for dance and music and performance and so it was really easy to reach out to them and invite and they’re usually here to participate, they participated last year and now this year,” she noted. “It is a nice place to give them the stage to highlight all the work they do.”