The University of Louisiana Monroe hosted its 10th annual Festival of World Languages on Saturday, March 3, 2018. The festival aims to spread awareness about the applications of foreign language studies in the modern business world.
Director of the School of Humanities Dr. Ruth Smith believes that many students underestimate the usefulness of studying a foreign language. "As with all of the Humanities, the question is always, 'Well, what are you going to do with that?' And the answer is 'You're going to do everything with that,'" Smith said.
The festival was sponsored by the ULM World Language program, Sigma Delta Pi, and Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, the Los Sonores chapter at Sterlington High School. The festival also received a grant from the national organization of Sigma Delta Pi.
Several high school teachers in the Monroe area bring their students to ULM to observe presentations and participate in activities focused on foreign languages and cultures. The events feature a wide range of cultures, from Chinese New Year to voodoo.
"We always bring in someone, who is usually a ULM graduate, who is working and using the language that he or she learned as a profession," Smith said. The students are able to interact with a person who has made a career out of knowing a foreign language.
This year's keynote speaker was Makeva Armant, ULM French graduate, winner of Ms. Black Louisiana, and teacher in Baton Rouge. Her speech focused on the importance of foreign language study.
Multilingual communicators are becoming more and more sought after as the nations of the world interact and engage with each other. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations."