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Winner of Brown University Student Activity Office's 2012 Student Leader Citation for Fostering Understanding

Brown Student Agencies 2012 Inspire Grant Recipient

Interested in world cultures? Looking to learn a couple words in a new language? Come to BSLE language projects! Each project is led by a native speaker who is anxious to share his or her language and culture with you. BSLE is meant to briefly introduce Brown students to languages and cultures. They are once-per-week, homework-free, casual discussion sections. They are not substitutes for intensive language courses, but are instead fun and casual ways to engage with the cultural diversity at Brown.

Albanian: Chiara
Wednesdays at 6:00pm in Smith-Buonanno (Smitty-B) G01

Chiara Prodani
Chiara comes from Albania, a tiny country in Europe with a huge history, a diverse cultural background and a unique language. It is one of the hidden gems of Europe, and she is confident that through her BSLE discussions, she will shed light on this sometimes-overlooked civilization, its roots and how it has evolved. At the same time, Chiara will make sure that by the end of the semester, project participants leave with some basic conversation skills in Albanian. Being a great fan of foreign languages, Chiara has already gone through quite different language teaching systems while studying English, Italian, French and Spanish. Chiara is a junior concentrating in Biology. She loves traveling, photography and cooking desserts.

                                      Romanian: Ovidia
Sundays at 4:00pm in J. Walter Wilson 303

Described by many as the country of contrasts, Romania is the place where gypsies meet vampires, where the cemeteries are merry, where sea meets mountains and the communist vestiges are intertwined with modernity. Eager to introduce us to her eclectic culture and language over this semester, Ovidia is a native Romanian, passionate about linguistics and multiethnicity. After studying Latin for five years, she is currently a sophomore at Brown and takes special interest in the evolution of languages throughout history. From this point of view, Romanian can represent a fascinating study case. As a Romance language, it is considered by many the closest living language to Latin, despite the geographical position of Romania in the middle of a Slavonic sea. Thus, by the end of the semester, the participants will develop a deeper understanding not only of the Romanian language per se, but also of the other Romance languages. Ovidia is a Development Studies / Classics concentrator, intending to choose as area of focus Eastern-Europe.

                                     Bulgarian: Viktoria and Ivan
Saturdays at 4:00pm in J. Walter Wilson 202

·    The Balkans has been a venue of interaction and clash between various cultures and influences for thousands of years. Bulgaria, situated in the heart of the peninsula, is the very representation of the unique contradictory nature of the Balkans and a place where Thracians, Ancient Greeks, Slavs, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and the medieval Bulgarian tsars have left their material and spiritual mark. Few people however can locate Bulgaria on the map, and even fewer know that Bulgarian people have their own distinct language. Bulgarian is a colorful ancient language of great potency, which has used the Cylliric alphabet for more than a thousand years, longer than any other country has. Viktoria hopes that by being a BSLE project leader, she will be able to not only give fellow Brown students a good sense of the language but also offer them a taste of the rich culture and unique mentality of the people from that often overlooked part of the world. Besides Bulgarian, Viktoria speaks also English, German and Macedonian. She is concentrating in Econ/IR and loves art, politics and time traveling.

Bulgaria is a small, but a very beautiful and diverse country, both culturally and geographically. Being among the oldest nations on the European Continent, it has a long and rich history – one dotted with miraculous triumphs as well as great tragedies. Contemporary Bulgaria is similar in that it can often be a place of very palpable paradox, but wonderful despite it – or at times, precisely because of it. Ivan was born in Bulgaria, but has spent more than half his life in the United States. As a BSLE project leader, he hopes to share his passion for language and the heritage he holds very dear. In addition to Bulgarian and English, he speaks Spanish and studies Russian. Ivan is a junior concentrating in Political Science; though his primary focus is on political theory, Ivan is also interested in the international relations, politics, and culture of Eastern Europe. Ivan enjoys traveling, sports (soccer!), the finer things in life – poetry and philosophy, and most of all humor (he has been known to insist that his jokes really are funny – sometimes it just gets lost in translation).

Cape Verdean Creole: Rob
Sundays at 5:00pm in J. Walter Wilson 401

Robert Sarwark
Rob served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the West African island nation of Cape Verde from 2008 to 2010. There he taught courses in linguistics and pedagogy at the newly-founded University of Cape Verde while also developing various non-curricular and international English-language initiatives. He returned to Cape Verde to work in the private sector in 2011 and continues to collaborate on various projects based there. He speaks both Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole (Kriolu) and is currently pursuing his Masters in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Brown. He has also studied Spanish since high school (forgive the rustiness) and is now beginning to dip more into (Quebecois) French, having recently spent the summer living in Montreal. He really looks forward to facilitating greater dialogue between the Brown community and Providence's vibrant Cape Verdean diaspora heritage. His favorite phrase in Kriolu is mansu-mansu, which literally means "nice nice".

Tagalog: Chelsea
Thursdays at 7:00pm in J. Walter Wilson 303

Chelsea was born in a city called Tarlac in the Philippines. When she was seven years old her mother and sisters moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where her father had been working for most of her life. She lived there for five years, perfecting the glottal stop and playing ukulele for tourists at Waikiki Beach. In 2005, her family moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she eventually graduated from high school in 2012. Although she has existed in many different communities during her life, Chelsea has kept in very close touch with the Tagalog and Pampango languages as well as the Filipino culture with the help of her immediate family and relatives still living in the Philippines. Chelsea is also familiar with French, Latin, and Hawaiian Pidgin. The first Tagalog word she ever spoke was “tutubi,” meaning “dragonfly.”