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Vol 39  No 10
Feb. 22, 2007


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University celebrates multilingual diversity with unique event

Language lovers
by Jeff Green

Memorial’s international community will be represented at a unique event next week known as speedCHAT. (Photo by HSIMS)

Anyone itching to master a few words in languages such as Arabic, Cantonese, Turkish or Korean can do so next week when a unique program kicks off on Memorial’s St. John’s campus.

The International Student Advising (ISA) Office is putting together an opportunity for the university community and general public to embrace some of the world’s languages.

It’s all part of speedCHAT, which takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 28, in the University Centre.

The event is like exactly how it sounds. Participants will have a chance to interact with volunteers at various booths in different languages.

The event has never been offered at Memorial. Organizers are hoping it will promote the university – and province’s – rich multicultural community and allow participants to interact with others in a diverse language.

“The idea for the speedCHAT event arose out of an ongoing need identified by the ISA for intergroup activities amongst international students and the local population that celebrates multiculturalism,” said Natasha Clark, office assistant with the ISA Office. “Such activities are an instrumental part in the delivery of international education and advising. One of our goals is to introduce students to the largest multicultural community in Newfoundland and Labrador and strengthen the use of student’s mother language on campus.

“The event will also assist in the fight against racism as it creates a deeper understanding of cultures.”

It’s also a fun way to promote the linguistic diversity on the university’s St. John’s campus. Participants can tackle – or brush up on – a variety of languages. Roughly 18 different languages – ranging from Spanish, Hindi, Bengali, Mandarin and Russian – will be represented at the event and anyone from beginner language learners to experts can participate.

Ms. Clark said they’re encouraging anyone with a fondness for foreign vernacular to drop by the event. She said with a dynamic international community made up of students, faculty and staff members from close to 80 countries all around the world Memorial is the ideal backdrop for speedCHAT. In addition, with the end of the winter semester just around the corner and many students heading off to workterms and vacations in foreign countries, the event is a great opportunity for students to discover a few helpful words they may need to know.

SpeedCHAT takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on the third floor of the University Centre. Pre-registration is not required and the event is free. Public parking is available in Lots 16 and 16A.

Meanwhile, anyone looking to keep up on their language skills after the event can join Memorial’s Campus Chat Program – one of only two in Canada. You can learn more by visiting www.mun.ca/student/success/chat.php.

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