Parts of campus will be anything but quiet this Saturday when about 500 guests will head to UNM for a language expo featuring 10 languages from around the world.
UNM Expo — Language Odyssey 2001 is open to middle school, high school, college students and anyone else who is interested in the opportunity to be surrounded with 10 languages and the cultures of the places where the languages are spoken.
Marina Peters-Newell, lower division French coordinator and event organizer, said the event will allow students to hear languages they have never spoken or heard before.
“If we don’t understand all the languages and cultures, I don’t know how we can live as an international community,” Peters-Newell said. “It’s a main ingredient of living together in a global community.”
The expo was initiated 15 years ago by the Albuquerque Language Teachers Association and has since been a successful learning tool for many local schools.
“The expos were huge when they started out; there were well over 1,000 kids,” Peters-Newell said.
She said the teachers who founded the expo wanted students to confront languages other than their native ones and began to offer the expos at various Albuquerque high schools. It was only recently that the expo collaborated with UNM.
“Basically it was a few years ago when UNM’s motto was making bridges to the high school programs or undergrad education,” Peters-Newell said. “With this in mind I went out to build bridges and found lots of colleagues out there who were willing to work on projects on the expo. I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t continue even though the UNM motto has changed.”
The collaboration between UNM and the expo has brought with it the help of some of UNM’s language professors, which Peters-Newell said has expanded the abilities of the expo.
At least 50 UNM professors, teaching assistants and students are expected to help Saturday. The rest of the help will come from Albuquerque Public Schools.
Some of the activities and entertainment will include French crepe making, pictionary, origami, poetry, introduction to Russian, German rock music, introduction to German, German dance, storytelling, salsa dancing, Chinese calligraphy and “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” in Spanish.
Though students from Albuquerque schools are expected to make up a majority of the event’s participants, Peters-Newell said everyone is invited to attend the expo at no charge.
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The event will be held in Ortega Hall and in the large white tent across from Zimmerman Library Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Registration will begin at nine but will continue throughout the day.