May 30, 2024

On March 15, Ness Auditorium played host to World Café, an event sponsored by the Department of World Languages and Culture that invited faculty and students to come together in celebration of National World Languages Week.

World Café had performances by languages from all over the world: Chinese, German, Spanish, Japanese, French, Russian and Finnish. The event had something that almost everyone could find interest in, whether it was because of the wide array of refreshments that represented each country or because of the countless demonstrations of the cultures that students chose to perform. No matter what the reason was, the event was well received by 100 plus members of the Wittenberg community who all had great things to say about the departments.

“I thought the event was great,” Philip Buford, ‘18, said. “It was a great cultural experience for students, such as myself, who don’t know a lot about those international cultures. My favorite part was the Chinese class singing ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC.”

The evening was kicked off by 22 students performing a combination of four songs and poems in Chinese. All the students gave the audience a wonderful demonstration into the Chinese language and culture, but the performance that seemed to spark the most interest out of the audience was when six students from a 300-level Chinese course preformed AC/DC’s hit song “Back in Black.”

The next country that had an opportunity to share a little bit of its language with the audience was the German department, who had five students do unique performances to represent their culture. Three students did readings by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, while the other two students performed readings by Bertolt Brecgt and Yoko Tawada, three of Germany’s most renown authors and poets.

Next up, it was the Spanish department’s turn to share its culture with the audience who had one of the most memorable performances of the evening. That came when Isaac Montalvo, ‘18, played his guitar and sang “Forma de mujer” by Onda Vaga, one of Argentina’s most popular artists.

“I really enjoyed Montalvo’s performance for the Spanish department,” Kennan Wilson, ‘18, said. “I thought it was impressive how he could play an instrument and sing in a different language without missing a beat.”

The Japanese department had 18 students perform a combination of four different songs, poems and skits. Six students demonstrated a popular Japanese song and dance known as “SPARKLE” by Radwimps, that was well received by the audience. Immediately following the demonstration, it was the French department’s turn to expose the Wittenberg community to its culture. Three students had shown how beautiful the French language truly is by reading three popular poems by Jacques Prévert and Botrel.

The Russian department soon followed, sharing its country’s culture by preforming readings and songs by popular Russian artist like Alexander Pushkin, Samuel Marshak, Anna Akhmatova and Joseph Brodsky. To conclude the evening, Curtis Makela, ‘17, taught the audience about a traditional Finnish children’s song called “Peruna” (which is Finnish for potato, because the entire song was about eating a potato).

All in all, the evening appeared to have sparked interest and gave members of the Wittenberg community a unique opportunity to experience the languages and culture of seven different countries that are being represented throughout Wittenberg’s campus.


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