In early December, the U-M South Asian Language Program (SALP) organized an end-of-semester event to help celebrate its students and their hard work. The well-attended event featured henna, origami, Rangoli (meaning “row of colors” used to celebrate auspicious occasions), clay paintings, online calligraphy, button making, plenty of snacks, and South Asian games. 

“The event is organized at the end of the semester for the students who study any of the SALP languages we offer,” says Syed Ekhteyar Ali, director of SALP and professor of Hindi and Urdu.  “This event is open to the U-M community and public. The SALP students showcase their accomplishments, celebrate South Asian culture, eat regional food, participate in fun activities, and meet with their peers. The fun activities included regional games (carrom, ludo, snakes and ladders, Chinese checker and chess), henna designs on hand and palm, button making, singing, and dancing. This event helps to familiarize people with South Asian languages and its rich cultures.”

In addition to the games, students were invited to watch and share their group video projects. Students in the South Asian language classes are asked to work in groups of 3 or 4 and produce a short video to showcase what they learned for their final project. At the end of the academic year, there is an opportunity to win a CSAS South Asian Languages Video Award that highlights their work and promotes the language programs beyond campus.

"During the end of the semester SALP event, I was able to watch the final movie projects of different South Asian language classes,” says Karsin Dass, an undergraduate student majoring in data science. “I could appreciate the similarities and differences of languages originating from the same geographical region. Events like the end of the semester SALP event are important because I was able to connect with students from other classes and discuss our experiences learning another language."

This year, the successful event hosted more than 75 attendees, with all activity and game stations full of students for over two hours.