Learning a new language is made easier than ever by Project Go-BU, which provides a fun and easy way to learn languages on campus with its free, noncredit Globally Speakingseries. This semester, it has added two new languages Persian (Farsi) and Russian — and is still offering Arabic, Chinese, Turkish, Wolof, and Hausa. BU Today spoke with Project Go-BU coordinator Giselle Khoury, a College of Arts & Sciences senior lecturer and head of the Arabic language program, about Globally Speaking and this semester's added offerings.
BU Today: Can you tell us a little about Project Go-BU? How did it start?
Khoury: Globally Speaking is actually part of Project Go-BU, but is slightly different in its focus. Project Go-BU is headed by William Waters, a CAS associate professor and chair of modern languages and comparative literature, who received a $500,000 grant from the Department of Defense to encourage ROTC cadets to keep up with critical languages. Globally Speaking, however, is open to the whole BU community. It is a new program that allows anyone to participate in engaging and informal evening classes. It was very successful last semester, and we hope it encourages students to take an actual course in the language they are introduced to.
For its second semester, Globally Speaking is offering two additional languages. Why Persian and Russian this semester?
There are two reasons why we chose Persian and Russian: they are definitely critical languages and there is a big demand for them. We want students to be introduced to these languages and then hopefully say, 'Hey I'm interested in this language, I should take a course on it on campus.'
How are classes set up? Do students have to go to class every week?
Globally Speaking classes are very flexible and relaxed. Students can just show up to one class or they can go to all eight sessions. We understand they are busy, and we've made it so that you can still follow along if you've gone to two classes or eight. There's no pressure. We don't want to limit students at all.
Do you have plans to expand the program, by adding other languages, for example?
We would love to introduce new languages in the future, but it all depends on funding. If it were up to us, we would offer as many languages as we could.