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Fostering Community and Enhancing Learning in MFLL

Along with numerous other activities, the French program organized a French Immersion Day on April 2, 2016. The impact of such events is beneficial to the program, as feedback from Immersion Day indicates. For instance, eight out of thirty-two students (25%) who attended the event would like to continue and pursue a minor or major in French!

MFLL Talent showTuesday, March 1, was the first MFLL Talent show.  It took place in the James R. Cox Auditorium in Alumni Memorial Building.  Turnout was excellent: about 350 people in the audience, plus roughly 120 performers from different language programs who took part in the show.

Eight language programs participated for a total of twenty different acts. The wide variety of performances included poems, songs, instrumental performances, opera, dance, and skits. Three faculty judges and one student judge from each language gave scores to each act based on overall performance, audience response, stage appearance/role performance, and originality.  The winners were:

  • First place – Russian song "Young Cossack walking by the Don river"
  • Second place – French song "Clown" 
  • Third place – Japanese instrumental/song performance "Sakura"

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the performers, judges, student helpers, volunteers, and stage managers (especially Pedro Tomas).

Pi Delta PhiFrench Connections Week (March 28-April 1, 2016) was a week of activities, organized by the French undergraduate honors association Pi Delta Phi, under the leadership of Alex Brito. It included an escape room event in the Language Resource Center, a poetry recitation contest, the opportunity to discuss careers in French with community members, and a language trivia night for students in all language programs.  A highlight of the week was the "Coffee and Canvas," event at which students recreated Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" while sipping coffee and eating pastries en plein air, led by French student and artist Olivia Crawford, with simultaneous translation into French by doctoral candidate Nicolas Portugal.

The Italian Club organized numerous service and outreach activities this year. In fall 2015, Paige Winter, an Italian major, spent Thursday afternoons teaching Italian to third graders at Farragut Elementary School. In November, the Italian Club was invited to celebrate an Italian day with Farragut Intermediate School. Club members brought food and provided activities of games, dress-up, and simple language. Club members also sang Italian Christmas Carols at Autumn Care Assisted Living and baked sweets for the residents. Additionally, Italian Club students did a fundraiser through a Percentage night, to donate gifts in the form of Italian books and themed toys to Children's Hospital. The hospital called this the "Italian Angel Tree", and we hope to be able to sponsor this annually going forward. Finally, in March 2016 Italian minors and club members volunteered at the UT Early learning Center and introduced four-year ar olds to Italian language and culture. 

On November 18 and 19, 2015, students of the French Theatre Workshop presented on-campus public performances of "Notre Cendrillon" ("Our Cinderella")—a "recreated" version of Joël Pommerat's Cinderella. This French-language performance included some English translation.

Feijoada, the national Brazilian dish, has become the trademark of The Brazilian Cultural Night. Students and friends joined Wanessa Velloso in the kitchen of the International House on March 10 to make sure guests would have an authentic feijoada experience. The cooking began the day before so the meats and beans simmered to perfection, giving the feijoada its irresistible burst of flavor.

Ninety people came to the Brazilian Cultural night. Eurídice Silva, the Portuguese chair, opened the event with a brief history of feijoada, followed by a fun Bingo that had the feijoada ingredients in Portuguese. One lucky guest got two gift certificates for lunch at Brazeiros. The dessert was another Brazilian favorite: brigadeiros, a truffle-like treat made with condensed milk and chocolate.

Pictures from the event are available at: this event was co-sponsored by CLIP – The Portuguese Language Club, and the MFLL department.

The MFLL Fourth Annual Soccer Tournament took place on April 13, at the Regal Soccer Stadium. The tournament final came down to the Spanish students playing against the Italian students, with Spanish winning the final with a score of 2-0. The tournament continues to gain visibility and participation: this year, 419 raffle tickets were given out at the gate. The event was fully sponsored by the MFLL department, which allowed the teams to have beautiful shirts and Cliff bars for an energy boost.

Several businesses participated in making the event more fun for our students and fans. Corporate Clothing USA upgraded the shirts to dry-fit material, and several businesses donated gift certificates for our event including: Brazeiros, Subway, Stefano's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Copper Cellar, Pelancho's, Central Flats & Taps, Moe's, Niro Gyro's, Firehouse Subs, National Fitness Center Signature Club, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gracie Barra Knox. In addition, the International House, the Center for Sports, Peace and Society, UT Soccer, UT Athletics, and the School of Journalism and Electronic Media (SJEM), contributed to marketing our event and helping us secure what we needed for a successful event. Many MFLL faculty members came to support the teams and the organizers of the event.

The format of the games was developed by one of Wanessa Velloso's students, Jacob Morton, who did an outstanding job figuring out the brackets and coordinating the entire tournament. Two students from SJEM gave the event a professional touch: Lucas Panzica announced the event and Holly Carter contributed her photography skills.  Photos are posted on the MFLL Facebook:

None of this would have been possible if it were not for our incredible students.

The Chinese Karaoke Contest is an annual event held by the Chinese Program and the Chinese Culture Club (CCC). This year's contest, the third, took place on April 8.

Chinese Karaoke ContesParticipants must be students taking Chinese classes, and they must sing a whole song in front of a panel of three judges and around 100 audience members. This year we had fourteen groups, totaling about twenty-five contestants. They came from all four years of Chinese language classes as well as from the Chinese Linguistics class. The event also featured one emcee from the third-year Chinese, who hosted the event primarily in Chinese, and one emcee from first-year Chinese, who provided an explanation in English. This event not only showcased the Chinese-learning students' language proficiency and singing talent but also contributed to the cohesion of the program as students from different levels all mingled together. As in previous years, our Chinese Karaoke Contest was generously sponsored by the Confucius Institute and attracted a large crowd. Most importantly, all our students learned some Chinese, had a lot of fun, and became more confident about their Chinese language skills.

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