With students hailing from various countries such as Turkey, Brazil and Korea, the SUNY Oswego campus is full of diversity. The college now provides a program, called Language Exchange, that helps international and American students share their knowledge of their cultures and languages with one another.
Language Exchange got its start early in the semester, thanks to Assistant Professor of History, Murat Yasar.
According to Yasar, some international students find it difficult to branch out and talk to other students after their arrival to United States, due to the cultural differences.
This program allows both international and American students to get to know each other. Language Exchange also helps international students improve their English.
Cynthia Suggs, a senior Creative Writing major, grew up in New York City – which is a melting pot, in itself. However, Suggs has never taken the chance to explore the diversity around her.
With Learning Exchange, Suggs is breaking free of her comfort zone and is now able to forge new friendships with those with different backgrounds.
“There are different cultures and languages and it all sounds cool. I thought it would be interesting to learn to speak another language even if it’s just a ‘Hello’,” said Suggs.
During meetings, students take part in ice breaking activities to feel comfortable with each other. Ice breaking activities included, but are not limited to: asking questions about other cultures, learn how to say “hello” in another language and, in Suggs case, having students try to say American tongue twisters.
Because of this program, students, like Suggs, are making new friends and learning more about other countries and cultures.
Language Exchange runs every Wednesday at 7:30 pm on the third floor of Hart Hall. Students interested in joining the program can sign up in advance at the Hart Hall front desk.