Welcome “back” everyone! It’s been an interesting summer, and we are excited to see you again in MIT Global Languages for fall semester 2020.

Despite the challenges, I found new adventures this summer. One fun memory is swimming (socially distanced) in a local pond with two of my college classmates. Actually, I never met these 2 dynamic women when I was in college; I got to know them more recently at a reunion group over Zoom. All to say — you may be missing seeing your MIT classmates in person this fall, but the bonds of your MIT cohort and community will last you a lifetime.

I hope summer also provided you with a chance for some rest and relaxation, as well as new experiences.

Global Languages classes will be conducted remotely this semester, and we have been working hard to make them the best possible experience. Based on what we learned from our experiences with the pivot to remote teaching last spring, summer training workshops and classes, and discussions with colleagues in the field, we feel prepared to dive into remote teaching and learning with you this fall. We are proud to say that two of our instructors, Maria Khotimsky and Isadora Nicholas, won digital teaching awards this spring as a result of student nominations! The new LMS, Canvas, is especially suited to language and culture instruction, with multilingual as well as multimedia capacity.

We had a successful Virtual International Film Series this summer, and we thank those of you who were able to participate. We have converted the series to a self-paced DIY International Film Festival you can join at any time, available on our website. Recorded introductory remarks by faculty are posed on our website, along with links to the films.

In keeping with our efforts to promote community continuity as well as academic continuity during this time away from the physical campus, we have launched another new initiative: the “Tutmonda” First-Year Learning Community. Forty first-year students have signed up. We will meet informally every week for cultural exploration, enrichment activities, and good conversation (and also some multilingual riddles!). Remote food will be involved: We will learn how to make bento with a culinary writer, and October is German Apple Cake bake-along! Upper-class students will be invited to visit Tutmonda (“global” in Esperanto), so look out for an invitation from us.

Global Languages will also be participating in the virtual Tour de SHASS on September 3, 11:30-1:30. And we will be offering a career panel during Career Exploration Week, September 21-25. Stay tuned for more info.

Now more than ever is a time for us to connect. The global pandemic has reminded us how precious our time is together, and we look forward to spending it with you! Global Languages wants to hear from you if you have ideas for community building. Contact me (eteng@mit.edu) and Undergraduate Academic Administrator Joyce Roberge (roberge@mit.edu). Our virtual “door” is open and we’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes for the new term.