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Colorado State club celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity

When walking through CSU’s halls, a student can be just as likely to overhear a conversation in Arabic or Vietnamese as English.

With 1,600 international students and scholars from 91 countries attending classes at CSU, a wide range of cultural and linguistic diversities can be found not only in all corners of campus but across Northern Colorado as well.

These numbers are only going to get larger in the years ahead.

Last year, CSU forged a partnership with INTO, a United Kingdom company that specializes in recruiting international students to college campuses. Over the next five years, INTO is expected to help CSU enroll an additional 1,000 international students.

In an effort to promote and increase awareness of this diversity, the Teaching English as a Foreign Language/Teaching English as Second Language Graduate Student Association  (TEFL/TESL GSA)  at CSU is kicking off its sixth annual “Advocacy Week,” starting with an information booth in the plaza Monday afternoon.

“As we have more international students here at CSU, especially our undergraduates will be interacting with more and more people from different cultures, and a greater awareness will foster better cross-cultural relationships,” said TEFL/TESL GSA member and English graduate student Kyla Masciarelli.

The rest of the week will see events like graduate students from Korea and Russia doing presentations on their language and culture, a Family Literacy Night at the CORE Center and seminars related to the Peace Corp and working and living abroad.

The CORE Center is important, said TEFL/TESL graduate student and GTA member Sarah Kalert, because it helps underserved populations in the Fort Collins community improve their safety and economic opportunities.

“There are elementary and junior high students that come to CORE everyday, some of our members internships, we help kids get caught up on homework, this is our big event with them,” Kalert said.

Arabic as official language
Arabic as official language (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Family Literacy Night at the CORE Center will see a bilingual puppet show, arts and crafts and book readings by members of the CSU women’s softball team.

With 25 members, the goal of the TEFL/TESL GSA is to promote the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Fort Collins community, Kalert said. Members also get opportunities to tutor younger students, network and perform outreach services.

“In our community we have alot of languages that people don’t even know exist here in Fort Collins,” Kalert said.

The week culminates on Thursday evening, when Northern Arizona University applied linguistics and English education professor Fredricka Stoller delivers a keynote speech on how professors across a range of disciplines can understand and prepare for the influx of international students that will be entering their classrooms in the coming years.

“I think some of the goals and challenges for faculty is how they might need to adjust some of their approaches or fine tune their teaching practices to help facilitate learning for international and domestic students alike,” said Tony Becker, a CSU language professor and TESL/TEFL GTA club advisor.

Senior Reporter Austin Briggs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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About Austin Briggs

Senior reporter Austin Briggs is a journalism major in his second and final year of school at CSU. He has worked at the Collegian since March of 2011. He hopes to work at a daily paper and teach overseas after graduation.