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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Less-Commonly-Taught Languages Coffeehouse ‘a blast’ for language student volunteers, participants

Senior+French+and+linguistics+major+Allison+Schaeffer+converses+with+an+attendee+at+the+Less-Commonly-Taught+Languages+Coffee+House+in+the+William+Pitt+Union+on+Friday+afternoon.
Alex Jurkuta | Staff Photographer
Senior French and linguistics major Allison Schaeffer converses with an attendee at the Less-Commonly-Taught Languages Coffee House in the William Pitt Union on Friday afternoon.

For Lauren Jewell, volunteering at the Swahili booth at the Less-Commonly-Taught Languages Coffee House was a perfect opportunity to combine her passions for tutoring and language learning. 

“I absolutely loved volunteering,” Jewell, a sophomore applied developmental psychology major, said. “I work with children on reading comprehension and language skills, so this event was a combination of so many things that I am passionate about. The LCTL coffee house is a great way for students to educate their peers about other cultures and possibilities for other studies.”

The coffee house, which took place in the Assembly Room of the William Pitt Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, featured 25 language booths run by professors and student volunteers from all language departments and aimed to introduce students to a variety of languages offered by the university. 

The coffee house represented a wide variety of languages, from Ancient and Modern Greek, Arabic and Hebrew to Wolof, Haitian Creole and Quechua. Additionally, the event featured more commonly taught languages such as Italian, Irish and German, and also featured English and American Sign Language booths. 

Participants were greeted at the entryway to the Assembly Room by a volunteer, who handed out welcome brochures containing a map and instructions for how to navigate the event. 

To participate, students first approached information booths at teaching stations lining the perimeter of the room and then moved to the center to order food in each respective language from volunteers. 

At the event, student volunteers first demonstrated how to order a snack and drink in each represented language at the outer perimeters of the room. Participants were then able to place orders from booths at the center of the room to practice what they had learned.

Jewell said she got involved with the coffee house through connections she made through Pitt Travel Abroad.

“I know many of the LCTL students from our trip to Tanzania in 2023, and we have remained close after the trip,” Jewell said.

Participants had the opportunity to order a fresco, a snow cone-like drink, in Haitian Creole; lokum, a gelatinous candy in Turkish; bissap, or roselle juice, in Wolof; ch’arki, a beef jerky-like snack, in Quechua and kourabiedes, butter and almond cookies, in Greek.

Rorie Whitcomb, a sophomore majoring in Italian and finance, decided to volunteer at the coffee house after her Italian advisor told her about the opportunity. She said teaching others Italian conversation and pronunciation was “a blast” and “super simple.”

I would definitely love to participate again,” Whitcomb said. “It was such a great experience and I got to meet so many people.”

Jonathon Krippe, a senior linguistics and museum studies major who attended the coffee house, said the event was enjoyable due to how “eager” the volunteers were to teach others about their languages and cultures.

“All of the stations I went to had easy-to-understand displays, and the ‘teachers’ were really helpful and nice,” Krippe said. “I loved the variety of foods and drinks that I got to try from around the world.”

About the Contributor
Anna Kuntz, Staff Writer