by Soravit Sophastienphong, 21, Undergraduate at Duke University
There is a distinct moment I remember from my high school days that, while seemingly insignificant, is the reason I have always valued the humanities and humanities courses throughout my college experience. I was walking to a restaurant to meet a friend for lunch nearby my high school when a Taiwanese couple stopped me and asked for directions to a famous pond nearby. I could tell that they could not understand my instructions, so I tried my best to tell them the directions in Chinese, given my limited knowledge studying Chinese in school.…
A single question changed the course of my life.
When I first began studying Latin in 1996, it was a dead language, no doubt about it. It was pointless to try to speak it; everyone agreed the grammar was just too hard.
Legend had it, though, that a single man—a priest, somewhere in Rome, Italy—could do it. The last man alive who could speak Latin! I had to find him.
And after endless blind turns, I did. It was spring 1997, and I was spending the semester abroad in Rome.
I got up very early one morning because the immortal…
by Olivia Azzarita
A few summers ago, I volunteered at a summer camp at a local school working with children to create art and other goods to sell at a market. Most of the children came from the school, or at least the area, but there was one family at the camp that had come from Japan. The children, ages 9 and 11, spoke almost no English, and their mother, Reiko, stayed with them to translate and help them adapt to the new environment. But even she struggled with English and American culture. So I took it upon myself to stay with them the whole week as long as…
by Christina Lohry, Chantilly Montessori School, Charlotte, NC
Teacher Christina Lohry describes a moment in which she realized how language (and other forms of communication) can profoundly change how we view others, breaking down misconceptions and helping us connect.