Multilingual Week

Past Tense, Future Progressive: Leveraging SFU's Linguistic Strengths

Multilingual SFU Week, February 6-10, is an annual celebration of SFU’s linguistic richness.

Instructors, staff and students are invited to attend workshops, talks, interactive booths and more to explore how we can leverage our community’s diverse language skills to create more inclusive and engaging spaces in the classroom and beyond.

Win a $25 gift card to the SFU Bookstore and Spirit Shop! 

Join our social media contest!

On your own social media channels, do one or more of the following and use the hashtag #multilingualSFU:

  • Post a picture of yourself with one of our stickers or at one of our events during Multilingual SFU Week 2023
  • Post a recording of yourself in a language that is not English, saying something like: Welcome to SFU Multilingual Week! Multilingualism is my superpower! Hello! I speak…! I like being multilingual because….
  • Write a post about why multilingualism is an asset

You will automatically be entered in a draw to win 1 of 6 $25 gift cards to the SFU Bookstore & Spirit Shop. Prize draw will be held on Friday at the closing event. Winners will be contacted after the event.

Schedule | Multilingual Week | February 6–10

Stay tuned for registration links and more information in the next week!

Multi-day Events — Starting Monday, February 6

Embrace Your Linguistic Superpowers!

Monday–Friday, February 6-10 | 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. | Burnaby & Surrey Campus

Visit our booth in the AQ North Corridor in Burnaby and the Games Lounge in the Surrey Mezzanine for a chance to win prizes in a multilingual trivia game, learn phrases in different languages, write things in a new script, and more!

Multilingualism at SFU: Embracing Linguistic Diversity in our Classrooms, on our Campuses, and within our Communities

Monday, Wednesday and Friday, February 6, 8, 10  | 11:00 a.m.–12:40 p.m. | Vancouver Campus, Harbour Centre

Presenters: Ximena Mejia Bernal, Bertrand Lee, Geoff Taylor, Leonie Knoechelmann, Lifelong Learning

Explore and celebrate the multicultural and multilingual vibrance that is Lifelong Learning at our booths located across from the Belzberg library. Try calligraphy, food and more!

Monday, February 6

What's My Superpower? Mulitlingualism

Monday, February 6 | 9:00–10:30 a.m. | Burnaby campus | Register

Presenters: Sobhana Jaya-Madhavan (Associate Vice-President, External Relations)

Language empowers us to express ourselves and connect to people, places and ideas. Growing up in India, colonization impacted me and my freedom to speak different languages in school. However, over the years, knowing different languages became my “superpower”. It has enhanced every aspect of my personal and professional life.

Multilingual Trivia Hour Online

Monday, February 6 | 12:30–1:30 p.m. | Online | Register

Presenter: Fraser International College

What are some advantages of being bilingual? How many of the undergraduate students at SFU are international students? How many different countries FIC students are from? Join us on Zoom to find out the answers to these questions, play some trivia games to celebrate multilingualism, have some fun & win some prizes!

Supporting Multilingual Students: Inclusive Teaching Practices and Strategies

Monday, February 6 | 3:30–4:30 p.m. | Online | Register

Presenter: Centre for Educational Excellence

This workshop addresses challenges related to teaching and assessing multilingual students by introducing instructors to best practices that support their academic success. Facilitators will lead participants through activities that explore the linguistic landscape of SFU and effective approaches to teaching and learning to develop an appreciation of multilingual students' linguistic repertoire, understanding of their unique needs, and knowledge of resources available to support them.

Tuesday, February 7

Celebrating Linguistic and Cultural Diversity at SFU: Hello| Hallo | nǐhǎo | Kon’nichiwa | Hola | Ciao | ‘ahlan

Tuesday, February 7 | 11:30–2:20 p.m. | AQ North Corridor, Burnaby Campus

Presenters: Jia Fei (Senior Lecturer, World Languages and Literatures), Claudia Hein (Senior Lecturer, World Languages and Literatures), Naoko Takei (Senior Lecturer, World Languages and Literatures)

Try your hand at various traditional activities across diverse cultures, including Chinese and Japanese calligraphy, Chinese brush painting, Japanese origami, Karaoke singing in different languages and more.

Multilingual Snack Hour

Tuesday, February 7 | 12:30–1:20 p.m. | Discovery 1, Burnaby campus | Register

Presenter: Fraser International College

Did you know that being multilingual is a superpower? Come celebrate multilingualism at FIC & SFU, try snacks from different countries, celebrate our community’s multilingualism and meet fellow students and community members! 

Tandem Language Exchange Program

Tuesday, February 7 | 12:00–4:00 p.m. | AQ North Corridor, Burnaby campus

The Tandem Language Exchange Program exemplifies the essence of multilingualism as it promotes language and cultural exchange between participants. Join us for an interactive table where you can learn more about the program.

Multilingualism in the Future Perfect

Tuesday, February 7 | 4:00–5:00 p.m. | Burnaby campus | Register

Presenter: David Gramling (Professor, Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies, University of British Columbia)

What will multilingualism mean, if anything, in 2123? Will languages in that not-too-distant future age be countable, bordered, nameable, comparable, mutually comprehensible, complete, broken, proprietary, feared, enfleshed, prosthetic, forgotten, colonial, prefabricated, sovereign? If we were to compare maps of planetary languages in 2023 to those we sketch in 2123, what would be the similarities? What would be the differences between the stories we tell about language today and what stories our descendants will tell? What will our descendants think about how we, their ancestors, dealt with the question of language multiplicity and diversity? What concepts and ideas will we have gotten right, what wrong? This talk is meant for students and other users of language interested in exploring this future, participating in shaping it, and eager to see how it unfolds in their communities and beyond.

Wednesday, February 8

How Do You Develop a Sense of Belonging and Legitimacy? A Pilot Project to Support the Bilingual Identity of L+ Student-teachers in French Education

Wednesday, February 8 | 10:00–11:30 a.m. | Online | Register

Presenter: Monica Tang (Coordinator L2 Identity Framework, BAFF/OFFA (Simon Fraser University)

In British Columbia, between 60-75% of student teachers in teacher training programs for French education have French as an additional language (L2/L+). However, the student teachers who spoke up were mostly individuals who have French as a dominant language. This poses a real challenge for the 60-75% who are sometimes afraid to speak in front of francophones and therefore find their learning experience compromised. Moreover, even when these student teachers become teachers in French Immersion or in the Core French program, the lack of confidence in interacting in a French-speaking professional community can greatly affect the longevity of their career in French and can lead to their attrition (Parks, 2017). To address the identity issue experienced by this majority of student teachers, a new course was created with the aim of developing a sense of belonging and legitimacy that would allow them to find their voice in a French education program. In this presentation, we will explain the pedagogical devices used to help develop a sense of belonging and legitimacy in a minority context.

Multiple Language Survival Skills: An Intercultural Approach

Wednesday, February 8 | 10:30–1:00 p.m. | AQ Seywell Hall Atrium, Burnaby campus

Presenter: Department of World Languages and Literatures

Learn how to navigate cultural differences and communicate effectively while traveling by learning different phrases in various languages. Each session will be 20 minutes long.

Claiming Our Voices as Multilingual Writers in Academia

Wednesday, February 8 | 4:00–5:30 p.m. | Online & W.A.C. Bennett Library 7200, Burnaby campus | Register

Presenters: Mohsen Hosseinpour Moghaddam, Graduate Writing Facilitator (Student Learning Commons)
Shaila Shams, Graduate Writing Facilitator (Student Learning Commons)
Junyi Guo, Graduate Writing Facilitator (Student Learning Commons)
Julia Lane, Writing Services Coordinator (Student Learning Commons)

Join us for a roundtable discussion where we will explore the experiences and insights of three Graduate Writing Facilitators as they discuss the intersections of language, culture, and writing in university settings. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A and engagement with the audience. The discussion will focus on the celebration and embrace of multilingualism in academic spaces, and will examine the structural changes needed to better support multilingual students and instructors.

Film and the Spanish language: Nine Queens and a Student-Faculty Roundtable

Wednesday, February 8 | 4:30–8:00 p.m. | Burnaby campus | Register

Presenters: Kayla Tso (President, World Languages and Literatures Student Union)
Isabelle Mayo-Harp, (Lecturer, World Languages and Literatures)
María Ignacia Barraza  (Assistant Professor, World Languages and Literatures)
Sara Aristizabál (World Literature major)
Deanna Lal (Spanish language student)
Salomé Mengo Morales (International Studies major)
Livia Marino (Spanish language student)
Ken Seigneurie (Professor, World Languages and Literatures) 

Join us for this renowned Argentinian crime thriller (in Spanish with English subtitles) followed by a student-faculty roundtable discussion exploring how the Spanish language, Argentinian culture and cinematic techniques all come together to make this compelling allegorical film. 

Thursday, February 9

Faculty Roundtable: Multilingual Instructors in the Academy 

Thursday, February 9 | 9:30–10:30 a.m. | Online & In-person | Register

Online roundtable, multilingual faculty will participate in a lively discussion about the joys and challenges of teaching while multilingual. Bring your questions and stories to this collaborative event to meet other multilingual faculty at SFU from across the disciplines. 

Multilingual Student Panel: Cultural Differences in the Classroom

Thursday, February 9 | 12:30–1:30 p.m. | Online | Register

Presenter: Fraser International College

During this panel discussion, international students will share their experience of cultural differences in classroom practices in Canada compared to their home countries.

How Is Multilingualism a Superpower in the Classroom?

Thursday, February 9 | 3:00–5:00 p.m. | Online & In-person | Register

Building on last year’s Multilingual Week tagline, “Multilingualism is My Superpower,” this panel, comprised of a number of multilingual undergraduate students and a faculty member, proposes to unpack the concrete ways in which being multilingual enhances the academic experience. Discussion will be focused on specific ways in which being multilingual contributes to academic performance. 

Friday, February 10

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Stories of Language and Culture

Friday, February 10 | 1:30–3:00 p.m. | Burnaby | Register

Presenter: Tsitsayxemaat Rebecca Duncan, Squamish Nation

Join us to hear from knowledge keeper, language teacher, translations specialist, and storyteller Tsitsayxemaat Rebecca Duncan of the Squamish Nation, who will talk about the importance of language preservation, and share enriching stories with us from Squamish language and culture.

Welcome videos

View videos of SFU community members sharing welcome messages in different languages!


T: 778 782 7115