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Cliff Notes May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2
   

Global Table Talk

   
     

Did you know that “cookie” and “Santa Claus” are derived from Dutch? Have you ever eaten stroopwafels (sweet syrup waffles)? If not, a visit to the Dutch conversation table at Eleanor Roosevelt College’s Café Ventanas will give you a taste of life in The Netherlands.

Dutch is one the 20 language tables that provide an informal setting for students to practice a new or native tongue. While language tables such as Punjabi and Mandarin meet once a week, other languages such as Dutch, Armenian and Portuguese are held only a few times each quarter.

At a conversation table, one or two native speakers act as hosts and start discussions ranging from culture to politics to food. Anyone else at the table can then join in to practice words and phrases.

“It shows the diversity at UCSD,” says International House Director Emily Maxon. “The languages represented are incredible, there’s Catalan, Bosnian, the types of languages that you can’t learn in the classroom.”

Karen Uy, ’06, a host for the Filipino language table, says her experience has been rewarding. “I consider the conversation table as a place where I can get in touch with my Filipino culture through its language and people.”

The number of conversation tables has doubled since the program began in 2004, and Maxon says the program continues to grow.

Cliff Notes written by Marnette Federis, ’06

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"I consider the conversation table as a place where I can get in touch with my Filipino culture through its language and people."