The University of Wyoming is offering 14 different language programs for free to students as well as Laramie residents in order to bring the community together through a variety of cultures.
The program, sponsored by World Language and Culture (WLC), is a volunteer program that promotes learning world languages and cultures. The program was developed by Dilnoza Furkatovna Khasilova, curriculum coordinator of UW word language day and culture program, in 2013 and supported by UW College of Education faculty member Amy Roberts. It first began fall 2014 with the help of UW’s international community and graduate students.
“This project is more relaxing,” Khasilova said. “[The project involves] basic knowledge, basic culture and basic language learning because in one semester you will not learn a lot but at least you can read, you can know how to go to the bathroom if you go to that country.”
In 2014 only three languages were taught but now it has increased to 17 languages such as Arabic, Chinese, French, Farsi, German, Hebrew, Indonesian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Tadjik, Dari, Turkmen and Uzbek.
“It started off with a few languages and then it bursted into a very organized offering,” Mollie Hand, Academic Advisor and Assistant Lecturer of Department of Modern and Classical Languages, said.
In addition to the 14 languages being offered in the spring semester, two more languages will be added this fall, including Hindi.
“What is nice is that it can offer languages that our department no longer offers or has never offered,” Hand said.
Since the program is free of cost, no charges will be required from the students and the person teaching the language will be provided with a letter of appreciation.
The program not only includes foreign language speakers as teachers, but also includes a lot of native speakers who teach foreign language.
The program has helped the people who come to learn and the people who teach. Three of the students who graduated from this program were accepted for the modern language program as graduate assistants.
“Why wouldn’t I think about creating a program that would be free, that would be service teaching and service learning that would promote more tourism and maybe promoting culture and languages, we’re all from different places,” Khasilova said.
In addition to international students and graduate assistants, the program has other teachers with a variety of backgrounds, from parents of students, undergrads, graduates and veterans.
“It will be great to use the talent of the international students and allow them to share their culture and language with Americans and allow Americans to come learn for free,” Hand said. “The other good thing is sometimes it offers Spanish and sometimes some of our students become teachers of Spanish by going and volunteering, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
Peter Thorsness, UW Spanish minor, said, “It’s like creating a diversity and gathering different cultures and languages under the same roof.”