By Jackie Delaney
Regardless of language or ethnic background, all students were welcome in the atrium of the Social Sciences Building for the Celebration of Language and Culture on Wednesday, Feb. 11. New international students and permanent students had the opportunity to practice speaking and understanding new languages as well as connect in an informal, friendly atmosphere.
Students wrote their name, country and the languages they have studied on a nametag at the start of the evening. Soon, students of all cultures were milling around the atrium speaking in Spanish, German and Portuguese.
“This event brings diversity to TCNJ students,” said senior communications major Christina Luchkiw, who has a minor in Spanish.
Currently, the College has international students from Brazil, Spain, Kazakhstan, Mali, Tajikistan, Japan, Germany and Australia, according to Luchkiw.
Senior international studies major Andrew Wallach said the event was inspired by students who attended a similar event while studying abroad. Wallach, who spent time in Spain, met and chatted with Spanish students, finding a connection with them through language.
“It is an awesome opportunity to make friends,” he said.
The event received a high turnout and celebrated many different cultures. On one table, a Chinese Wishing Tree had been set up to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The Wishing Tree encouraged people to write their wish on a piece of paper and place it on the tree.
This celebration of culture and language, according to Luchkiw, is important because “the world is becoming increasingly more globalized.”
Raquel Santos, a junior biology and Spanish double major, agrees.
“It is important to learn a new language to be successful,” she said. “Meeting people is eye-opening.”
The Celebration of Languages and Culture will be held twice more in the Social Sciences Atrium on Wednesday, March 25, and Wednesday, April 22, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.