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Polyglot Susanna Zaraysky: why it's a good idea to learn a foreign language
Sunday, March 31, 2013

Susanna Zaraysky

There may be no more enthusiastic linguist than world traveler and polyglot Susanna Zaraysky, who will address the virtues of a learning foreign language at three separate presentations to be given at SUNY Fredonia on Wednesday, April 10. All programs will be held at 101 Jewett Hall.

Zaraysky’s visit to SUNY Fredonia is sponsored by the French Club, with support from Latinos Unidos, Center for Multicultural Affairs, Department of Modern Languages and Literature, International Education Center, Italian Club and Hillel.

It is the goal of Zaraysky, who studied 10 languages and continues to speak an astonishing seven of them (English, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Serbo-Croatian), to empower people to be global citizens knowledgeable about world events as well as confident international travelers and communicators.

Zaraysky has been featured on CBS and a host of cable networks that include CNN, MTV, the Filipino Channel and Univision as a language and travel expert, and spoken in front of the U.S. Senate. She has given talks at Stanford University, UC-Berkeley, and University of San Francisco about becoming global citizens by traveling abroad and learning foreign languages. Zaraysky has also presented language learning methods to audiences in Russia, Thailand and Qatar.

Her first program will be the screening at 3 p.m. of the documentary she co-produced, “Saved by Language,” that tells the story of a boy whose ability to speak Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) enabled him to escape death during the Holocaust in World War II.

Zaraysky’s second presentation, “The Importance of Being Multilingual in the Job Market,” will be delivered at 4 p.m.

In her final presentation, at 8 p.m., the author of “Language is Music” will discuss how easy it is to learn foreign languages through music and the media.

“Language is a window to the world. Without being able to communicate, my world would be bland and colorless,” Zaraysky said. “Having worked and traveled in former war zones, I have seen that much of the violence and tension in the world could be reduced with improved communication and global understanding, but people either lack the desire for dialogue or simply cannot understand each other.

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