Students share their experiences of bringing the community together in "Second Multilingual Student Expo"March 24, 2022
San Luis, AZ (March 24, 2022) – First-Year English Composition students are creating opportunities to improve their interpersonal skills and self-confidence, while also linking academic knowledge with practical experience.
The Second Multilingual Student Expo was held at the Arizona Western College San Luis Learning Center on Wednesday, March 16. Students, along with their English professor Dr. Sara Amani, brought the community together to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity in conjunction with the International Day of Multilingualism.
During the event, students showcased their collective work and shared student writing, poetry, movie reviews, artwork, performances, videos, trivia, and the game Lotería.
“This Multilingual Student Expo allowed us to connect with our own culture in a very unique way. It reminded us to be proud of where we are from and to strengthen our bond with our own language and culture as well as others. This event helped us learn how diverse, rich, and respectable everyone’s culture is,” said AWC student Verah Rodriguez. “Such an expo is a major event that can promote multilingual community and encourage students to complete their major, even if English is not their first or strongest language.”
Rodriguez shared that she believed an activity like this helps reduce discrimination, racism, and xenophobia - while also promoting understanding and tolerance of differences.
“I realized through this experience that being multilingual has a huge impact on our lives in many areas,” said AWC student Mariafernanda Ramirez. “I now understand that it is time to glorify our mother language and be proud of it. It is also important to encourage the community to preserve the various cultures they come from and motivate our children to be multilingual and not miss the benefits that multilingualism can offer to improve our lives.”
Ramirez commented that being an active member of the expo was an enriching experience, especially working together with her classmates on a multimedia poem project titled, “I Am From.”
“This writing task was emotional and therapeutic, using the technique of poetry therapy. I must admit that in my case I lacked the courage to analyze and express my personal life, so I decided to analyze the feeling of the community I come from. However, I admire the courage of some of my classmates who shared with us their cathartic moments through poetic words, imagery, and rhymes. This activity helped us get to know each other more, creating a sense of empathy and belonging,” she said.
Fellow AWC student Araceli Espindola echoed her classmate’s comments.
“We laughed, sang, and cried when the videos of our ‘I Am From’ poem were shown. Tears were shed, taking advantage of the fact that the lights were dimmed. Everyone put their hearts into the expo and the results were reflected in the outstanding success of the project,” said Espindola.
She added that it was rewarding to see that event attendees were impressed with their work and enjoyed participating in the expo. “Through extraordinary collaboration, teamwork, and student involvement in an event that we considered ours, we were there for each other with smiles and positive words of encouragement,” she said.
“At first, I did not believe that I could play an important role in this event, but now that I have experienced it, I strongly believe that multilingual student expos should be held regularly. It was not like anything I had attended or participated in before,” said AWC student Channel Robles Acosta. “Particularly because of the large Hispanic population in our community, it is important to promote language and cultural diversity.”
Dr. Amani shared that her students spent weeks collaborating together to prepare for and host this invigorating platform.
“Students’ active engagement in this event demonstrated how their direct participation can contribute to promoting students’ sense of safety, belonging, and responsibility toward each other,” she said. “Honoring students’ linguistic and cultural identity can foster a culture where students feel heard, seen, valued, respected, engaged, and ready to learn.”
Multilingual Student Expos are planned to be held each semester:
- In fall semesters, during Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)
- In spring semesters, between International Mother Language Day (February 21) and International Day of Multilingualism (March 27)
Dr. Sara Amani
Professor of Multilingual Composition Specialist
Arizona Western College
Caption information: First-Year English Composition students led the Second Multilingual Student Expo at the Arizona Western College San Luis Learning Center on Wednesday, March 16, along with their English professor Dr. Sara Amani (pictured front row, far left.) The expo brought the community together to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity in conjunction with the International Day of Multilingualism.