UMW Department of Foreign Languages Presented Fourth Annual World Language Day

On Saturday, March 24, University of Mary Washington’s Department of Modern Foreign Languages gave area high school students a chance to see what they offer through the Fourth Annual World Language Day, an annual outreach program dedicated to the appreciation and study of foreign languages.

Spanish Language Coordinator Itxaso del Olmo leads participants in Capoeira, a Brazilian martial arts form

On World Language Day, more than 100 high school students from across Virginia spent a day at the university participating in competitions in foreign languages.

Marcel Rotter, founder of the event and associate professor of German, was inspired to start the event when he witnessed a day celebrating German language and culture at the University of Wisconsin.

“I thought that it seemed like something we should have here at Mary Washington, but I decided to include everyone by having all the major languages,” said Rotter.

With a whole day dedicated to languages, the event reinforces how important languages are at UMW and shows potential future students what the UMW foreign language department can offer them.

“We’re hoping that the students who come to World Language Day would consider UMW for their studies, and major in foreign languages,” said Rotter.

While on the Fredericksburg campus for the event, the visiting students will receive a full UMW experience, with a tour of the campus, admissions information and greeting from President Richard V. Hurley. The visitors also will get to meet UMW faculty, staff and students.

UMW Hand Percussion Club performs for World Language Day participants

Mary Washington students who are serious in their language studies will share how much languages have impacted them through experiences like studying abroad or participating in the Peace Corps.

“I love World Language Day because I get to share my foreign language experiences with high school kids who love languages and culture as much as I do,” said sophomore Charlotte Johnson, an international affairs and German major. “It’s also great to see all the creative things they come up with and hang out with students who are interested in other languages than the ones I am familiar with.”

Rotter hopes that participants in the event will take away more than an increased knowledge and appreciation of languages. Most importantly, he hopes they learn more about the importance of learning a foreign language and continuing that learning process in college.

“We support students in their language education, and show them that it’s cool to learn a foreign language,” said Rotter.

For more information about the event, visit


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News release prepared by: Julia Davis           


  1. […] more information about World Language Day, read the full press release from Wednesday, March 21. Filed Under: What's New @ UMW Tagged With: Marcel Rotter, Modern Foreign Languages, World […]