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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Bringing the world to College Hill: Get to know Lafayette’s language clubs

Photo by Madeline Marriott for The Lafayette
Members of the German Club and Eva Scheicher (middle), a Fulbright teaching assistant in the German program, shared information about the organization at Lafayette’s Oktoberfest-themed Fall Fest.

If you’re looking to try a different culture’s cuisine, learn the basics of a new language or just meet some new people, look no further than Lafayette’s language clubs.

The various language clubs at Lafayette provide channels for students to meet new people from various cultural backgrounds.

“[Members of the French club] are all so interesting, because it’s people from across majors, across different backgrounds — not just culturally, but just in life,” Olivia Sterantino ’23, president of the French Club (soon to be known as “Cercle Francophone”), said.

Andrea Rivera Conte ’23, president of the Spanish Speakers Club, shared a similar sentiment about her organization.

“My favorite thing about [Spanish Speakers Club] is that it’s a very inclusive space,” Rivera Conte said. “We try to make it fun and keep it casual. So [you’re] not only learning the language, but you’re also making friends and learning about different cultures.”

Each language club’s meetings function very similarly. They run in a conversational style, giving license for members to hone and practice their language skills.

According to Nathan Kornfeind ’23, president of German Club, the group’s activities allow students to supplement the language learning that takes place in the classroom.

“You can get involved and study [German] but I think at the end of the day, it requires talking to other people in the language, and I think German Club kind of offers that venue to use your German skills and meet new people,” Kornfeind said.

The language clubs each encourage interested students of all language levels to join meetings and jump into conversations.

“You don’t have to be fluent. We say it’s for every level,” Sterantino said.

“I feel like Spanish Speakers provides a chance to improve your language skills, if you’re taking classes [or] if you’re a native speaker, to connect with your heritage and to keep speaking the language,” Rivera Conte said.

In addition to conversational meetings, each of the language clubs offers a host of fun activities, including weekly lunches and various cultural events pertaining to the club’s language. There are a number of upcoming events sponsored by the various language clubs that all members of campus can get excited about.

German Club hosts a lunch hour event every Monday called “Wochentisch,” which loosely translates to “weekly table.” Participating members speak German for the duration of the lunch. Additionally, the German Club will be hosting its second movie night of the semester in November.

Francophiles can look forward to celebrating Mardi Gras with the French Club.

The Spanish Speakers Club will hold a screening of telenovelas with an accompanying dinner in the near future. Soon, they will also offer a cooking class, which tentatively has empanadas on the menu.

The language clubs enjoy coming together to create multicultural events. The recent Polyglot Cafe was hosted by Spanish Speakers Club, French Club and the International Students Association. This co-sponsored event fostered interlingual interactions and provided a space for multilingual individuals to learn about other languages and cultures.

“We got food from different cultures … We had name tags with our name and what language we speak. We all just hung out and learned new words of different languages,” Sterantino said.

“Everybody that spoke [any] language could just go by and learn about language learning,” Rivera Conte said about the event.

Leaders of the language clubs find that being a part of one is a fun, positive and overall fulfilling experience.

“It’s a really nice place where you can exchange cultures and learn from one another,” Rivera Conte said.

You can find out more about Lafayette’s language clubs by following them on Instagram at @lafcerclefrancais, @spanishspeakersoflaf and @lafcolgerman.

Disclaimer: Nathan Kornfeind ’23 is the editor-in-chief of The Lafayette. He did not contribute writing or reporting to this story.

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About the Contributors
Natalia Ferruggia, Culture Editor
Madeline Marriott
Madeline Marriott, Editor-in-Chief
Maddie (she/her) is a senior English major with a Government & Law minor. As the Editor-in-Chief, a Mentor Writing Associate, a Senior Student Contributor for Lafayette Communications, a Communications Intern for the Office of Sustainability, co-founder and Vice President of English Club, and a Senior Interviewer for Lafayette Admissions, no writing happens on campus without her knowing about it. Her Google Calendar would make your head spin. She is a die-hard Swiftie and Phillies fan, a collector of tote bags, a builder of a Hay Day empire, and an avid Goodreads and Letterboxd user. She smokes cigars and uses an old-timey typewriter and notepad in the newsroom.

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