Area high school students flocked to SVSU’s 42nd annual Foreign Language Day on Thursday, Nov. 2, in the Malcolm Field Theatre.
The event is sponsored by the Admissions Office and plays a big role in recruiting future Cardinals who want to continue their language study at the university level.
High school students from around the state presented posters to promote international awareness or performed a song, dance or skit to represent a language that they are studying. For each category, there was a first, second and third place award. Each participant received a certificate, and the first -and second-place winners received certificates and trophies.
“It is a friendly competition, and students from different schools watch each other’s performances,” said Monika Dix, the chair of the Modern Foreign Languages department. “Students see that they are not alone studying foreign languages and what other students are doing in their language classes.”
The acts performed ranged from modern songs such as “Despacito” to performances of traditional dances.
“We wanted to show the Spanish culture by expressing it through dance, and we also did a song,” said Emily Walker, a junior from Oscoda High School.
This year’s Foreign Language Day saw a total of 430 students from eight schools in attendance.
“For most of these high school students, the Foreign Language Day is their first trip to a university campus and performing in front of SVSU faculty and students,” Dix said. “It is a great honor and wonderful experience.”
The students enjoy being able to replace a day of learning in the classroom by venturing out to SVSU to spend the day learning more about language and culture.
“I think (Foreign Language Day) really expands our horizons to be aware of the different cultures out there and to see languages more than just Spanish,” Walker said.
Dix said that in modern society, the study of foreign languages is increasingly important.
“Unfortunately, many students are hesitant to choose studying a foreign language at the university level because of unpleasant experiences in high school or the misconception that learning a foreign language is difficult,” Dix said.
As a way to give prospective students a glimpse of what the study of foreign language is like at the university level, academic fraternities such as Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honorary Society) and Alpha Mu Gamma (National Collegiate Foreign Language Honorary Society) help judge the performances and are available with information for those that seek it.
“The Department of Modern Foreign Languages invites SVSU students to come and see what our language classes and language clubs are like, and how a foreign language might benefit or enhance your major and employment prospects,” Dix said.