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The SILC Café is a place to learn new languages and meet new people

Free food and coffee provided by the SILC Café gathers students from different cultures to talk about culture and everyday life

language cafe

"Language cafes discuss different languages and cultures." Illustration published Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

For many students, learning a new language is a difficult task, but the SILC Café provides an opportunity to practice new languages in a casual setting with free food and coffee. 

The School of International Letters and Cultures, or SILC, offers the program every Wednesday from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the LL165 classroom on the Tempe campus. 

Murphy McGary is a communications specialist and adviser for the SILC Attachés. She and SILC advisor Barbara Fleming helped create the club behind the event. The first SILC Café events took place during the spring 2016 semester.

“We create a space for our students to get together and have a discussion about cultures and languages,” McGary said.

The meetings host students who are studying Chinese, Spanish, French, Dutch and other languages. McGary describes it as being an inviting place to meet new people.

“It has a good vibe to it," McGary said. "There is always laughter and a joke.” 

The SILC Café has become such a success that students have requested a permanent cafe. McGary is hoping to have a brick and mortar location in the near future.

Sophomore Michael Napolitano, a Chinese major, is the president of the SILC Attachés. He helped develop the SILC Café along with Murphy McGary and Barbara Fleming.

“Personally, I’ve learned a lot about different clubs and different language classes,” Napolitano said.

Many people from all backgrounds and cultures attend the meetings, including those who may not even be language majors. At least one student decided to learn Chinese just by attending the cafe, Napolitano said.

“The membership of the club is open to everyone,” he said. “The cafe helps open to the door of SILC.”

Sustainability sophomore Alexandra Carrillo is the vice president of SILC Attachés. She helps set up the event every Wednesday by making the coffee and gathering the food. 

“I invite people in my classes to the SILC Café to get to know them better,” Carrillo said.

Film and Media Studies freshman Sindy Rivera said she comes to the SILC Café to practice her minor in Spanish.

“It’s been helpful because you can practice with people," she said. "And here, it’s an open and accepting environment.” 

Sophomore Amanda Garza is majoring in business and minoring in Arabic. She came to the SILC Café at the suggestion of Professor Neimeh Mousa, who teaches Arabic. 

The cafe is an easy place to practice a language, Garza said, because it offers an opportunity to meet with others who are speaking the same language, who are often difficult to find. 

“It’s a chance to find other people who are willing to practice with you,” she said.

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