The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center hosted more than 3,000 students primarily from northern California high schools during its annual Language Day open house Friday.
Some 35 performances were held by students and faculty, representing the 24 languages taught at the Institute. Cultural displays were set up in classrooms by faculty and DLIFLC students who welcomed visitors and explained the significance of learning foreign language and culture.
"This was a great opportunity for DLI students to interact with high school students and explain to them what we do and why learning a foreign language and culture is so important. A lot of young people are not accustomed to such a variety of culture," said Seaman Kenneth Wilkerson, who is studying Arabic.
"The cultural displays from different countries were really interesting. It made me want to learn more about other countries," said Kaitlyn Marrone, a Monterey High School freshman.
More than 50 food and merchandise vendors participated in the event.
Students were able to experience authentic international cuisines. "The food was really, really good," added Marrone, with a smile.
Next year's Language Day is planned for May 13, 2011.
Natela Cutter, Strategic Communications