March 4, 2004 – Parlez-vous Français? Sprechen zie Deutsch? Taler De dansk? If so, you're in sync with the V.I. Education Department's celebration of Foreign Languages Week on St. Thomas and St. John. It runs Sunday through March 13 and is part of a national Foreign Languages Month.
"Possessing the knowledge of another language helps to widen the scope of human understanding, breaking down misconceptions, prejudices, confusion and confrontations," said Myrna V. van Beverhoudt, the department's foreign language coordinator.
She said that the need to speak a foreign language was especially important in today's global economy.
"Bilingual professionals in any field are able to reach a greater audience, thereby seizing a greater market share than their monolingual counterparts," she said.
Additionally, she said that people who study a foreign language for just one year score better on tests conducted in English. And, the more years you study, the better your score.
Programs to celebrate National Foreign Languages Week at various schools include poetry contests, poster contest, international food sales, expositions, variety shows, spelling bees, "Trivial Pursuit" games, and piñata contests.
The celebration culminates with the best of the Foreign Languages Cultural Program on April 3 at Tutu Park Mall, from 10 a.m. To 5 p.m.
Students' work will be on exhibit, with judging from 11 a.m. to noon.
From 1 to 3 p.m., students will participate in a show that highlights their foreign language proficiency in songs, dances and poetry. Winners in both the exhibits and the show in elementary and secondary divisions will be announced after the show.
Business owners who are interested in assisting at Foreign Language Programs at any one of 18 schools are invited to contact van Beverhoudt at 775-2250, Ext. 240 or by e-mail. The department is looking for businesses to contribute supplementary material, equipment or prizes to students in participate in the program.
The St. Thomas/St. John Hotel and Tourism Association, Amalia Café, Café Roma, Asfour Department Store, Boricua's Terrace, and L'Escargot Restaurant are helping to support this event.
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