Learning a language

‘Speakers of all levels’: Pitt language clubs connect students – University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News

Summary

Being Lebanese, Tamara Alchoufete, president of the Arabic Language and Culture Club, grew up speaking and understanding Arabic. She said she has been a member of the club since her first year, when she joined to connect with other students who spoke Arabic.

“When I came to Pitt, I decided to study Arabic and learn how to read and write to complete my fluency,” Alchoufete, a senior anthropology major pursuing an Arabic certificate, said. “The Arabic Club was a place where I could …….

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Being Lebanese, Tamara Alchoufete, president of the Arabic Language and Culture Club, grew up speaking and understanding Arabic. She said she has been a member of the club since her first year, when she joined to connect with other students who spoke Arabic.

“When I came to Pitt, I decided to study Arabic and learn how to read and write to complete my fluency,” Alchoufete, a senior anthropology major pursuing an Arabic certificate, said. “The Arabic Club was a place where I could connect with other students also interested in Arabic.”

While Pitt offers classes in 35 different languages, language clubs offer students opportunities to practice their conversation skills outside of the classroom. Students can also participate in activities, such as collaborations with different clubs and cultural events. Members of these clubs range from native speakers to those with no prior experience with the languages.

Benjamin Hudock, president of the Spanish Club, has also been a member of the club since his first year. Despite not officially studying Spanish at Pitt, he said he still enjoys pursuing classes, such as a Latin American music class, with Spanish language content.

“When I got to Pitt, I got a placement test and started taking upper-level Spanish classes,” Hudock, a senior chemical engineering major, said. “I thought I was going to do a minor … but I decided against it. Next semester I’m going to take a Latin American music class, which is going to have heavy Spanish language content and is also about music, which I love.”

Hudock said he is looking forward to an upcoming collaboration between the Spanish Club and Brazil Nuts — a Brazilian culture and Portuguese language club — where members will be doing fill-in-the-lyrics and word games.

The Spanish Club meets biweekly for conversation tables which they call “mesas,” meaning “tables” in Spanish. They also host film screenings and cultural events. Recently, the club had two events for Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. They made origami skulls one week and made “papel picado,” which are colorful paper decorations, another week. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions last year, language clubs had to adapt their activities. While most events for the language clubs have resumed, some are still on pause. For instance, the Spanish Club still cannot hold cooking events, according to Hudock.

“One of the things that I loved my freshman year — and I’m so sad it’s still missing right now — is events having to do with cooking and getting people together in the kitchen,” Hudock said. “The Center for Latin American Studies actually has a kitchen space that you used to be able to reserve. I looked and this …….

Source: https://pittnews.com/article/168989/news/speakers-of-all-levels-pitt-language-clubs-connect-students/