Language TAs and Fellows, professors, staff, students and families celebrated International Education Week 2017 by socializing over a meal and engaging with cultures. Mission Park Dining Hall accommdated the crowds in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.
On the evening of Friday, November 3, 2017 the fourth cultural event of the fall semester was headed by the Spanish TA’s. It was about “Día de Todos los Santos” and “Día de los Muertos”. An explanation of “All saints day” (Spainish and Puerto Rican celebration) and “The Day of the dead” (Méxican celebration) was provided to the students. The students interacted with a Mexican altar and they were introduced to its different elements. The altar was dedicated to the victims of natural disasters in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and México and the students participated in this activity by reading it. At the end of the event the students tasted the traditional pan de muerto (bread dead), tamales, huesos de santos and hot chocolate.
On October 18, Williams College celebrated its Oktoberfest at Whitmans’ Dining Hall in homage to the world’s largest Volksfest, usually held from mid-September to the first week of October in Munich. In collaboration with Whitmans’ Dining Hall, the German Department provided an authentic insight into Bavarian culture and its traditional food to the whole Williams community.
The Arabic Cooking Club invited the members of the Moroccan and Indonesian Think Tanks to dinner. They were on campus for the Ghana ThinkTank – WCMA collaboration, and the three Moroccans, Nadia, Mariam and Mehdi, immediately jumped in to prepare couscous, almond biscuits, and Moroccan mint tea with students.
In January 2017, the Japanese program offered a travel course to Japan, Kyoto Artisans: Exploring 1200 years of Cultural History of Kyoto through Modern Craftsmanship. Prof. Yamamoto led eight students to Kyoto to explore the cultural history of Kyoto. The group visited artisan studios and interviewed a Buddhist statue sculptor, a sacred mirror maker, a Nishijin weaver, a dyer, a traditional textile patternner, a tea master and a Noh performer. They learned how traditional craftsmanship and art forms have been perpetuated and transformed in a modern era as the city of Kyoto developed. At the end of the trip, students held a public presentation and shared their research on craftsmanship and reflections with Kyoto audience.
On Feb. 5, a Japanese Calligraphy –*SHODO demonstration and workshop by Ms. Masako Inkyo was held. Thirteen students from the Japanese program participated in the workshop.
*Shodo is an art form using a brush and charcoal ink on paper, wood plaques and fabric. It includes Chinese characters (kanji) and Japanese hiragana. Although it originated in the techniques used for letter writing, with its unique form of expression it has developed into an art genre.
In a workshop on Sunday, January 15, 2017, Elinor Aishah Holland introduced the participants to the basics of Arabic script calligraphy, its rich cultural context, as well as the techniques involved in this classical art form.
The Williams Japan Club was founded in 2016 by two alumnae, Sara Kang ’14 and Jessy LeClair ’10 with support from Larry Greenberg ’85.
It is a community for graduates living and working in Japan, and for others interested in Japanese language, culture, and related careers. The goal is to create opportunities for fun, friendships, networking, and sharing of wisdom and resources. On August 6, 2016, twenty-three members gathered in Tokyo and enjoyed lively discussion over delicious okonomiyaki.
Patrick Johnson ’16 and Piroune Balanchandran ’16 with the four different types of mead they created for their final project in Professor Goldstein’s class, RUSS 206: Feasting and Fasting in Russian Culture.
Current Williams students prepared short language lessons in Hindi, Korean, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, French, Chinese, Russian and German for accepted students visiting campus. There was animated participation and exchange about language learning at Williams.