Currently AHA hosts four language tables per week – French, Italian, Spanish and Russian. Tables, which are led by Graduate Fellows, provide an opportunity for students of different levels to practice their conversational skills in a friendly, low-stakes environment over a meal. Tables are regularly attended by heritage speakers, graduate students, and faculty, providing opportunities for mentorship and acquaintance in a less formal setting. One student commented how she saw her professor in a new light after speaking with her at Russian table and found her to be far less intimidating. In addition, AHA residents have spontaneously organized other language tables, and active discussions are underway to add German and Arabic tables next quarter. Students also expressed interest in Portuguese.
Language tables also provide an opportunity to learn about the culinary history and culture of parts of the world where the language is spoken. Through a fruitful partnership with R&DE, Dining has organized special culturally relevant treats each week. The RF and Graduate Fellows have created fact sheets that offer students helpful phrases to use in foreign language conversation and insights into the foreign food being served at the dinner.