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The Year of Languages invites students, faculty, staff, university leaders, and alumni to consider deeply and to share across our communities why we value the languages we know and how we benefit from knowing more languages.  

The Year of Languages will encourage students to tell each other and tell us about the languages they are learning. In September 2022, students in every language class on campus, who include majors and minors from every New Brunswick school and disciplines across the curriculum, will engage in a short essay project: Why Do I Learn Languages? An interdisciplinary faculty committee will select the best responses, and the prize-winning paragraphs will appear in a social media campaign and on posters displayed across campus, so that students can tell other students: Why would a budding neuroscientist learn French? Why does an engineer learn Hindi? What are the applications of Spanish, Arabic, or Korean for the health professions and for legal careers? Where can you live, work, and travel if you know Portuguese? Italian? Chinese?

The Year of Languages also offers students opportunities to do more with the languages they already know. An unprecedented 2020 survey on multilingualism at Rutgers tells us that 68 percent of our students speak a language other than English at home. How can we better honor and engage those languages on campus, in our classrooms, in living communities, and in our support for the careers and intellectual projects our students pursue?

Across the Humanities and beyond, the Year of Languages will feature interdisciplinary courses; co-curricular programming; community outreach; programming in the visual and performance arts; food and culture festivals; and poster competitions to engage students, faculty, staff, and university leaders in thinking, feeling, and acting through languages. 

Honoring and engaging the many languages spoken and used in our community is crucial to the university’s teaching and research mission and to supporting inclusive excellence, beloved community, and global impact. We hope to advance a culture of languages at Rutgers. 


“Why Do I Learn Languages?” Short Essay Competition for Language Students, Fall 2022

Year of Languages Video Challenge, Spring 2023