Language learning made fun at FIU

FIU Language Day is an annual event that brings language learners together.

Why study a foreign language? Because it can lead to a great job.

Zue Lopez Diaz is a junior studying communications and international relations. She currently interns at Prospectiva, a government affairs consulting firm, where she helps analysts prepare reports on Latin American politics and events and translate them into English for American companies.

She previously interned at the Spain-U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English, Lopez Diaz landed both positions due to her language skills. She sees her language skills as a valuable tool.

“Eric Feldman from the Office of Global Learning sent out an email that listed available internships, and Prospectiva specifically asked for Portuguese speakers,” Lopez Diaz said.  “Today’s day and age is very international, with businesses always expanding and reaching for new markets. Being able to speak different languages opens doors.”

Learning a language doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming according to Sarah Hammill, Business & Online Learning librarian at FIU.

“The Libraries have a number of resources to improve language skills, and our most popular is Mango Languages, a fun online database that brings language skills to life through interactive activities,” Hammill says.

In fact, when FIU senior Ana Correa, a native Spanish and English speaker, was in the middle of an internship in Nicaragua, she used Mango Languages to study French. She continued her studies upon returning home, using her commute time to practice pronunciation and listening to French music to train her ear.

Other language resources offered include FIU Language Day. An annual event that began two years ago, FIU Language Day takes place in the Green Library and features language reunions, language trivia, offerings such as name writing in different languages and calligraphy lessons as well as good food.

“FIU Language Day is a great opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to practice their language skills in a fun, non-threatening environment,” Hammill says. “More than 300 students, faculty and staff attended the language reunions held in GL 220 last year. Many more spent time in the breezeway learning about student clubs and in the first floor TV lounge area testing their language trivia and karaoke skills.”

Lopez Diaz thinks everyone should study a foreign language.

“Internships and jobs are competitive,” she says. “Language skills give you an edge and help you stand out.”

FIU Language Day is a joint effort between the FIU Libraries, the Office of Global Learning, the Department of Modern Languages, the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, and the African & African Diaspora Studies Program. It will take place on Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Green Library in room 220, the GL breezeway, and the GL first floor TV lounge.