Organisers aim to attract several hundred participants to the
latest annual International Languages Week at the University
of Otago, which starts today.
The week celebrated ''multicultural diversity and languages''
and would highlight the value of study in languages and
cultures at the university, Dr Pat Duffy, a member of the
organising committee, said.
Otago University student radio station Radio One will
broadcast music and stories involving several languages and
cultures from noon to 1pm throughout this week, including
German today, Japanese tomorrow and Chinese on Wednesday.
Overseas student numbers at Otago fell about 10% this year,
compared with last year, partly because of the continuing
effect of the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch,
university officials said.
It would be ''really good for Dunedin'' if more overseas
people appreciated that the city remained an excellent place
to study languages and cultures, and it had not been damaged
by the Christchurch quakes, she said.
Dr Duffy, a senior lecturer in French, said understanding
other languages and cultures was vital, given the importance
of foreign trade and tourism to the New Zealand economy.
The week also includes a ''Cultures Quiz'' at the University
Union main common room at 5pm on Wednesday and a mass photo
of people wearing their national costumes on the registry's
front lawn at 1pm on Thursday.