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Last updated: Jan 24, 2017 6:50 am

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Speaking the world’s language

Campus has gotten a little more multicultural since the creation of the World Languages Club this January.

Daniel Hu and the World Languages Club want to make campus more multilingual. (University Communications)

Aimed at people who want to speak new languages and learn about world cultures, the club holds language- and culture-themed nights out of the Queen’s University International Centre. They’re hoping to spark greater interest in cross-cultural sharing and learning.

“Language is such a big thing that connects and it’s not given enough focus in our predominantly English-speaking environment,” says Daniel Hu (ArtSci ’15), the club’s president. “We want to encourage a campus culture of multilingualism.”

Leading by example, Mr. Hu, who is also chair of the Department of Literatures, Languages and Cultures’ student council, is fluent in or working on learning five different languages.

Though there are a number of smaller language clubs around campus, Mr. Hu says they struggle to maintain consistent membership and interest, something he hopes the World Languages Club can fix. Its plan is to have chapters within the club that run events about a given language or culture, such as an Oktoberfest for German and the Lunar New Year for Chinese. That way, events will be more regular, structured and the club can retain more members.

In order to make sure the events are accessible for all skill levels among speakers, they’ll utilize a rotation system. The system groups together those with similar skills and has more proficient speakers deliver lessons to those who need them.

“We would really like to build a membership that is not restricted to language concentrators and international students,” says Mr. Hu. “We want to make this opportunity available to wider Queen’s community.”

Along with culture-specific nights, the club will also hold multilingual events celebrating international exchange and the benefits of multilingualism. Complementing all events will be a spread of food related to their culture, either provided by the club or assembled by potluck.

“This is a great venue for students to get together, discuss what they’ve learned and even practice their foreign language skills,” says Dr. Donato Santeramo, Head, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

The department will be assisting and liaising with the club as it continues to grow.

More information can be found at the club’s webpage.