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Missouri State Hosts Inaugural World Language Showcase

Morgan Austin
William Cook presenting at World Language Showcase

Language is one of the most valuable tools we use as humans. A tool that helps us connect not only with others, but to ourselves and our own identities. This week, Missouri State University demonstrated that importance to roughly 400 area high school students with the World Language Showcase. A brain child of the Modern and Classical Languages Department, the Showcase immersed students in a pillar of MSU’s Public Affairs mission.

Dr. Jason Jolley, Modern and Classical Languages department head, says that this event was the personification of its pledge to cultural competence.

Credit Morgan Austin / KSMU News
Dr. Jason Jolley talking with students

“There are lots of reasons everyone should learn a language, but honestly, in this day and age, at an institution that supports internationalization, global affairs, global studies, and one of the pillars of the Public Affairs mission is cultural competence, we think it’s extremely important if you’re going to have any degree of cultural competence that you be able to speak with someone from a another culture in their language.”

Students participated in a myriad of events ranging from activities such as “make-your-own calavera mask” to intensive culture tests and placement exams.

Logan-Rodgersville High School student Courtney Deever participated in the poster competition.

“A lot of people around the world speak different languages and to communicate with them you have to know other languages as well.”  

Credit Morgan Austin / KSMU News
Make your own calavera mask

The showcase was planned by MSU faculty Dr. Tonia Tinsley, Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez de la Vega, and Moberly High School teacher James Barker. Already enrolled in foreign language classes, the students were also given a chance to see what language classes would interest them at the university level.

“So the idea behind it is to bring in these mostly high school students and give them a little taste of what it’s like to be on a college campus in a college language classroom.”

The showcase also incorporated Missouri business people who use foreign languages in their careers. William Cook, social media specialist at Vulcan Systems, outlined the benefits.

“A second language will help you to understand other cultures and lifestyles in a way that nothing else in this world can. In my personal opinion, this is the one thing that will be the difference between success and failure for your generation; is being able to work with other cultures.”

The department plans to recreate the showcase next year in the hopes of widening Modern and Classical Languages awareness and furthering the reach of culture into the Ozarks.