Celebrating Languages Week

Published August 16, 2021

Pictured above: Senior School Cultural Dress Day.

Each year St Cuthbert’s celebrates Languages Week. This special week provides a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate not just the languages taught at St Cuthbert’s but those also spoken by our diverse community of staff and students.

This year, our annual celebration of languages was launched by Professor Robert Greenberg, Dean of Arts at the University of Auckland. As well as English, Professor Greenberg speaks Russian, Bosnian Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Hebrew, French, German, Slovenian and Czech, among others. When he lost his sight while completing his doctorate at Yale University, Professor Greenberg took a year off to learn Braille before returning to his PhD which he then completed at the age of 29. Professor Greenberg emphasised the way in which the ability to speak a foreign language immediately transcends differences and creates an instant connection between people. His story is one of resilience, adaptability and academic brilliance which inspired the students in his presence. 

Students were then involved in a range of activities across the week to celebrate the languages and cultures within our school.  

It was particularly heart-warming to see our Senior girls assuming such a leadership role with our Juniors. Many of our Senior School linguists spent time throughout the week introducing girls from Years 0 - 6 to Latin, Chinese, Spanish and Te Reo Māori. Our Junior School girls learn French year-round, but this was taken to the next level with fun games led by their ‘Big Sisters’. The Junior School also held a wonderful cultural fashion parade. 

In the Senior School, the Year 7 students were involved in an artistic model recreation, while the Auditorium resounded with the shrieking of Year 8 students all competing in teams against each other in an epic 50-minute quiz about the languages taught here in the College. The Tutor Group quiz saw all Senior School students testing their knowledge with IAKAH crowned the champions. It was a riot of colour and fashion when a huge number of students embraced the opportunity to try on a range of different traditional Chinese costumes. A treasure hunt looking for ancient Roman coins immediately garnered the attention of future archaeologists while future art historians were given the challenge of recreating a famous artwork from a range of different cultures. The week culminated with the Food Truck carnival where an array of different sweet and savoury options from different cultures were on offer.   

The Austrian philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, famously pronounced that “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”  It is hoped that Languages Week opened the hearts and minds of students to a world beyond their own.