University pushes for language diversity

Written by: Ceylin Arias/Contributing Writer

Not only do employers look for internship experience, leadership roles and volunteer positions, but they are also interested in a person’s knowledge of languages.

To encourage language diversity, the Modesto A. Maidique Campus will host its first Language Day on Tuesday, Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will take place in the Green Library Breezeway, the first floor of GL and in GL 220.

All students, faculty, staff and alumni are welcome to attend.

Language Day encourages the FIU community to learn different languages, said Sarah Hammill, a research librarian at the main campus who has partnered with FIU Global Learning this year to host the event.

During the event, there will be a “Language Reunion,” which invites students to meet with other people who speak the same languages as them. If they are from the same country, they can also share dialects.

This reunion will take place at the GL Breezeway. The time it will take place is still tentative, according to the event’s website.

“Speakers will come and talk about the reasons and benefits of learning a new language, which we hope will attract students in wanting to learn a language other than ones they’re already familiar with,” said Hammill.

There will be various speakers at the event, possibly including University president Mark B. Rosenberg.

Career Services staff members will also be present at the event in GL 220, who will be available to speak with students throughout the event. Career Services hopes to help students understand why they should study a new language and how they can fit it into their curriculum, according to Hammill.

For entertainment, activities such as a language trivia will take place in the TV lounge on the first floor of GL. The game will be open at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The game will consist of 15-minute to 20-minute sessions per language, and will include questions from categories such as sports and food. A possible question could be: “Which of the following dish originated in Japan?”

Incentives for playing the language trivia game include prizes such as t-shirts donated by Global Learning, water bottles and coffee mugs.

There will also be prizes available for students who speak the most languages and for students who speak rare languages. Examples include Swahili, Hindi, Greek, Romanian, Dargwa Avar and Russian.

University cultural clubs will also participate at the event, including the Chinese Club, the Korean Club, the Spanish Club and the Italian Club. They will serve food from the country they represent. For example, the Chinese club will provide egg rolls.

Language Day will also focus on FIU libraries’ new resource: Mango Languages.

Mango Languages is an online program designed to help students learn practical conversation skills in different languages. To use the database for free, users must create an account using their FIU email and password.

Through the program, users can earn digital badges as proof of their achievement when they complete a chapter. They can later post their badges of achievement to social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag “fiumangolingo.” Badges can also be posted on Linkedin accounts and resumes by emailing

According to Hammill, these formal or “professional” badges look good on resumes to potential employers interested in someone bilingual. The badges serve as an indicator on how well someone knows a particular language and how successful they have learned it.

“The language-learning app allows you to choose from over 60 languages and can serve to supplement what is being learned in a classroom,” Hammill said.

If students choose to learn Spanish, for example, they can skip through different categories to learn about “Text Talk.” “Text Talk” teaches users how to ask someone a question through text messaging in the language.

“If you’re going on a trip, you can also use it on your mobile device. It includes audio, typing, dictation and I think it’s fun,” Hammill said. “Unlike other programs, such as Rosetta Stone, this database is free for all too.”

The database can be found through the Mango Languages app, which can be downloaded for free in app stores for iPhones and Androids. It can also be found through the library’s website.

Hammill said the Mango Languages program is made available free to the FIU community when the University applied for a technology fee grant. Money for the grant came from the tuition technology fee, which is $5.25 for undergraduate students and $18.99 for graduates.

To RSVP for the event, students must register at; however, walk-ins are welcome.

“Overall, language day will promote the benefits of learning a second, third, fourth or fifth language,” said Hammill. “Hopefully this creates a collegiality among students, staff, faculty and alumni who wish to share their culture and language.”

Image courtesy of Creative Commons

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