Language Fair increases excitement about foreign languages

Photo Credit: Student at table at Language Fair
by Kayla Kyle April 17, 2017

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures hosted a Language Fair for high school students April 13.

The fair was held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Nebraska Union and provided an opportunity for students studying various languages to test their skills. It also acted as a recruitment process for the department so they can see where current high school students are in their language studies.

Throughout the day, students participated in competitive events, which were judged by the faculty of the Department of Modern Languages. The events included drama, music, folk dance, poetry and poster design. Each student was required to participate in at least one event. Winners of the events were announced at the closing ceremony.

Of the events held, the fair included a conversation table that allowed students to test their skills in various languages and learn about new cultures. Russian, French, Spanish, Arabic and Czech were some of the languages included in the conversation tables.

Hana Waisserova, a Czech instructor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, ran the Czech conversation table. She became involved with the event through the department and said the conversation tables help with high school students’ language comprehension.

“We have a lot of fun here because we put out words which are sort of international and because they come from similar based Latin words, students were fascinated that they could recognize these words,” Waisserova said.

Waisserova said the department uses this event as a way to get to know potential Nebraska students.

“The language fair is the major drafting event for the Department of Modern Languages and we do have a variety of events,” Waisserova said.

Waisserova said students were able to get excited about the Czech language through the conversation tables.

“It was beautiful to see that students were actually amazed and that they actually know so much of the language,” Waisserova said. “We were able to talk to them about the region and history and we are also able to cheer for our Czech classes because Czech has been [at the university] for 110 years.”

Lyvia Osterstock, a sophomore pre-social science major at Nebraska, attended the fair to go to a 30 minute class about the Russian language.

“We learned how to introduce ourselves in Russian,” Osterstock said. “There was a lot of people there and we went through all these [Russian] words. We actually all did pretty good.”

Osterstock’s interest in Russian sparked after her roommate majored in Russian. She attended the event to be closer to what she was studying.

“My roommate is a Russian major and she’s the one who told me about it because she wanted me to meet all of her teachers,” Osterstock said.

Waisserova said the fair is a good way to celebrate cultures from all over the world and to inform students of languages they might not have known about before.

“I think it’s just to raise awareness that there’s all these languages, all these activities and also the fun associated with different cultures,” Waisserova said. “All Nebraskans could always benefit from being aware of diversity.”

Story and photo from the Daily Nebraskan.