Last week, a delegation from the city of Bahia Blanca, Argentina, was in town as part of an exchange student program sponsored by Jacksonville’s Sister City Association in collaboration with the World Language Department of the Duval County School District and The Mayor’s Office. Dr. Joanne Davis, Supervisor of World Language and Dr. Ardain Isma, Specialist for World Language were also at hand to greet the students at the Mayor’s Office.
It was indeed an amazing moment. The session started with an official welcome by Rear Admiral Victor Guillory who works as Advisor for Military Affairs to Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. Then, it was a surprising visit by Mayor Brown, who took times out of his busy schedule to officially congratulate the students for their visit to the River City. Mayor Brown spoke on the need to strengthen bi-cultural ties with Latin America. He also spoke about business ventures that could be beneficial to both Jacksonville and Bahia Blanca. Then, it was time for Dr. Joanne Davis and Dr. Isma to greet the students on behalf of the World Language Department.
They were 18 students in all, and every one of them speaks English. Some of them speak multiple languages. This is a clear indication that these students understand the global village logic. Language is the best means of communication. It opens doors where it would otherwise seem impossible. Learning world languages brings global understanding, professional success, and personal growth, as many educators in this academic arena will tell you.