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Language Day 2024: Celebrating Language and Culture

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madison Collier
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

The Presidio of Monterey, home to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, hosted its 72nd Annual Language Day. During Language Day, attendees immerse themselves into the foreign cultures of each school at DLIFLC and see students put their knowledge on display with information booths, cultural activities and performances, May 17.

Language Day serves multiple purposes for the students enrolled in the intensive language programs. It offers a needed break from the rigor of their training and allows students to rejuvenate in an environment rich with linguistic and cultural diversity.

Language Day brings together all language students through performative dancing and singing, allowing them to exhibit their skills to their peers, instructors and the community. 

“A majority of our instructors, nearly 95%, are foreign-born in the language they teach, so likely a Chinese instructor was born in Taiwan, or a Russian instructor is from Ukraine, so they bring their cultures with them to the classroom. This is our day to bring their culture out of the schoolhouse environment and show everyone their history,” said Col. Mark Jones, 517th Training Group commander. 

For this year’s Language Day, POM invited more than 2,500 high school students and language teachers ranging from the local area to Sacramento. These students get to witness first-hand what it means to train and operate as a linguist for the Department of Defense. They directly interact with instructors and students, learning more about the 517th’s mission and training at POM. 

Language Day at POM is more than an event; it is a celebration of the influence that language and culture have on the world around us. This experience offers students a platform to deeply engage with the languages they study, allowing them to share their knowledge and experiences with others. Doing so cultivates a sense of pride and unity within the community. 

Language Day emphasizes that language development is more than just mastering vocabulary and grammar; it is a key to understanding and connecting with diverse cultures around the world.