What kinds of students gravitate toward WLL?
Our department is where you come when you’re a traveller at heart. Our students want to learn a new language or languages and they are interested in stories from around the world and how those stories shape the way we live.
When you hear and tell stories that are outside your usual frame of mind, you are better able to deal with and navigate different frames of reference. For example, identifying and understanding misinformation and how it spreads, or how critical thinking is an essential skill in identifying “fake news.” Reflecting on and understanding how language works really matters; what words we use can be a matter of life or death, of war or peace.
Our department is for the pragmatic student. While people may not be pursuing much global travel these days, all of us live and work in a community that is very multicultural. Learning another language allows you to better communicate with people across cultures. And in most contexts, this is a necessity, not a choice. For example, you could be teaching in one of our diverse Lower Mainland schools; working in an organization helping newcomers to Canada find housing; or working as a consultant who researches for and interacts with a company’s international stakeholders. In all cases, you have to be able communicate cross-culturally to do your job well.
We hear this talk of these being the “soft skills” of the arts and I would argue quite the opposite: these are “hard skills,” applicable in so many places. And once you’ve learned them, no one can take them away from you.