• PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Spectators gather on the grass close to the stage for a best view of the 45 different cultural performance scheduled during 2011 Language Day.

    Language Day 2011

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Spectators gather on the grass close to the stage for a best view of the 45 different cultural performance scheduled during 2011 Language Day.

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - The Korean Fan dance has been a crowd favorite for the more than 30 year history of Language Day at DLIFLC.

    Language Day 2011

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - The Korean Fan dance has been a crowd favorite for the more than 30 year history of Language Day at DLIFLC.

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Colorful and exotic patterns could be seen on the traditional cultural attire worn by some of those in attendance for the 2011 Language Day.

    Language Day 2011

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Colorful and exotic patterns could be seen on the traditional cultural attire worn by some of those in attendance for the 2011 Language Day.

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Children rush the stage to grab Philipino pesos tossed at the finale of a dance performance by DLIFLC's Spanish students and instructors.

    Language Day 2011

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Children rush the stage to grab Philipino pesos tossed at the finale of a dance performance by DLIFLC's Spanish students and instructors.

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - A tradtional Afghan wedding is performed as part of the stage entertainment during Language Day. Demonstrations like these are an important part of educating Language Day visitors about the cultures of the 23 languages

    Language Day 2011

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - A tradtional Afghan wedding is performed as part of the stage entertainment during Language Day. Demonstrations like these are an important part of educating Language Day visitors about the cultures of the 23 languages

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Crowds gather at tents erected for vendors during the 2011 Language Day. There were 52 different food vendors on hand May 13 to supply the crowd with an amazing diversity of culinary choices.

    Language Day 2011

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Crowds gather at tents erected for vendors during the 2011 Language Day. There were 52 different food vendors on hand May 13 to supply the crowd with an amazing diversity of culinary choices.

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Visitors to the 2011 Language Day get their names written on "passports" in a variety of languages as part of DLIFLC's classroom demonstrations and displays.

    Language Day 2011

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Visitors to the 2011 Language Day get their names written on "passports" in a variety of languages as part of DLIFLC's classroom demonstrations and displays.

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - A Chinese dragon is paraded through the crowd during Language Day on May 13. More than 3,000 students and educators from across California were estimated to be in attendance.

    Language Day 2011

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - A Chinese dragon is paraded through the crowd during Language Day on May 13. More than 3,000 students and educators from across California were estimated to be in attendance.

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - DLIFLC students and instructors model traditional outfits during a Hindi fashion show as part of the multiple stage performances that took place May 13 during Language Day.

    Language Day 2011

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - DLIFLC students and instructors model traditional outfits during a Hindi fashion show as part of the multiple stage performances that took place May 13 during Language Day.

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - For more than 30 years the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center has been opening its doors annually in May to showcase the diversity of cultures that exist behind the languages they teach.

On Friday, May 13, a day traditionally associated with bad luck, the Presidio of Monterey played host to more than 3,000 lucky students, educators and other participants for its 2011 Language Day celebration.

All signs of bad luck seemed to have gotten lost among the dense crowd of visitors who arrived by buses from across California. Attendees were treated to cultural displays, classroom demonstrations, stage performances and a variety of local ethnic food vendors. Even the forecasted rain decided to wait a day, causing the crowd to be more at risk for sunburn than getting wet.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Christine Hearn, an Arabic Military Language instructor, oversaw the Navy volunteers who greeted arriving students, handing out gift bags, distributing classroom demonstration tickets and scheduling language Oral Proficiency Interview tests given by DLIFLC instructors.

"The crowd's been great and everyone is enthusiastic," said Hearn. "It's really good to be able to promote languages in the school amidst the budget cuts and reduced programs."

An estimated 45 California schools attended this year's Language Day. Shane Muniz said he traveled more than eight hours with classmates of Lone Pine High School, located near Mammoth Lakes, where he currently studies Spanish.

"I've talked to a couple of service members who were nice, ate a meat kabob that was delicious, saw a Chinese dance and Zumba performance, and I'll be visiting a Spanish classroom later today," said Muniz. "It's very interesting to see more about the cultures of the languages we are learning."

Airman 1st Class Adam Sochia took advantage of Language Day to bring his family on post, saying that they enjoyed most seeing the different cultures on display and also getting to see a little bit of what he does as a military language student.

Sochia was interviewed while enjoying lunch with his family adjacent to the multiple tents erected for local food vendors who cooked up cuisine from across the globe. Naturally this reporter asked him about the food choices.

"There's a wide variety, and everything looks great, but I went with the Korean barbecue," he said.

In all, 52 vendors participated in Language Day, offering food, beverages, clothing and accessories. An additional 10 informational vendors were also on hand, including recruiters from the Army, Navy and Air Force.

For DLIFLC and the Presidio of Monterey the event was a great success, offering students and community members a chance to experience authentic culture from a variety of ethnic and language backgrounds, something that many in attendance may never have the opportunity to experience again in their lifetimes.

Page last updated Fri May 20th, 2011 at 15:13