On December 4, from 3:30 to 5:00, Global Languages hosted a new event for students, the Global Languages Pre-Reg Fair, in the Vannevar Bush Room.

The purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity for MIT undergraduates, particularly first-years and sophomores, to learn about GL’s classes and programs and as they prepared their schedules for the IAP and spring terms, with hopes of drawing more students into GL classrooms early on in their MIT careers. Furthermore, with the participation of our campus partners from MISTI, CAPD and the Distinguished Fellows Office, students were encouraged to inquire not only about how to satisfy academic requirements with language classes, but also how to apply such skills to broader applications through MISTI internships, career paths, and Fulbright programs in an array of countries.

From beginning to end a steady stream of around 200 students flowed into the Bush Room, perhaps with the primary intention to partake in the various treats from around the world, such as mochi, churros, Berliners, macarons, cheese breads, and so forth, as well to enjoy some hot cocoa or hot apple cider on a wintery afternoon at the tail end of a busy semester.

The set-up was based on a traditional Academic Expo with separate tables for each language group and the campus partners staffed by GL instructors and/or current students enrolled in these programs, but with an interactive component built into the format. To invite conversations between the students and the table representatives, students were given leaflets in which they were asked to write down any possible applications they learned about from each table they visited. After making the rounds, students turned in their leaflets for a brightly colored luggage tag embossed with the GL logo as a parting gift and a chance to be entered into a raffle. The prizes were eventually handed out for one $100 and two $50 Amazon gift cards.

By 5pm, the Bush Room was still full of lingering students enjoying the last of the treats and relishing the moment to consider all the possibilities learning languages at MIT opens them up to. On their way out, several students expressed gratitude to the instructors and staff for organizing this event. With such positive feedback and apparent enthusiasm, Global Languages intends to make this an annual affair during the IAP / spring pre-registration period.