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International Poetry Day: come and read poems from any language or culture!

By Achille Zambon on March 30, 2016

InstapoetsNowadays, poetry seems to be looking for its place in mainstream culture. You see billboard poems like the ones of Robert MontgomeryInstapoets like R.M. Drake – who became famous (a retweeted-by-the-Kardashians kind of famous) and sold hundreds of thousands of books by combining lomo aesthetics, fancy typography, and relatable rhymes; you even see self-proclaimed “last poets on Earth” selling printed mugs and t-shirts quoting their own verses.

But what is the meaning of real poetry today? How do Shakespeare, Dante, Baudelaire, Bashō matter in our everyday lives? Is their art only for a few, or can anyone find something relatable about it?

In an attempt to answer this question, the Keck Center, in collaboration with the Office of International Student Services, will be hosting a casual “open mic” evening of poetry on Wednesday, April 6th at 4:30pm, in the terrace lounge of Lawrence Hall. The event is suitably titled International Poetry Day, as it will feature poems from Indonesia to Italy, from South Korea to Germany, from a variety of historical periods. Readers will comment briefly on the verses, explaining why they matter to them personally and in their cultural context.

If you want to read something from your favorite poet, in your own native language or one that you are studying – or even if you want to read your own poem! – please get in touch with any of the language interns. We will need the original text, as well as an English translation to display on the lounge TVs for the people who do not speak the language.

A dinner of Indian, Chinese and Brazilian food will be served. Don’t miss it!

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
Rita Dove

“Speed dating” ideas from around the world: short films at the Keck Center

By Achille Zambon on January 25, 2016

Short film is an interesting medium. Its brevity forces directors to distill thoughts and ideas to their most essential form; its status of niche product makes it a great environment for experimentation; its lower production costs allow a vast number of young creatives with fresh ideas to approach this form of art.

Keck Center Short Film Festival

Together with all the other language interns, in our role of “cultural ambassadors” at Colgate, we curated a selection of short films we will be screening in four separate events throughout the semester, the first one being this Thursday (January 28th) at 5:00PM in Lawrence 20. For each screening, we chose a broad theme and selected short films reflecting our own cultures: the first theme will be identity, in all of its shades (nationality, gender, ethnicity, profession, and so on).

The claim for this event could be speed dating ideas from around the world: in about one hour, we will confront ourselves with a variety of different takes on the notion of “identity”, watching a diverse and fast-paced series of works lasting from 2 to 15 minutes. For our first event, Russian and Italian food and snacks will be served at the end of the screening.

Here is the complete calendar of the festival (all four events will take place at 5:00PM in Lawrence 20):

1/28 Identity (food from Russia and Italy)
2/25 Memory (food from France and China)
3/24 Spirituality (food from Japan and Germany)
4/14 Conflict (food from Spain and the Middle East)

Don’t miss it!

Using Illustrator with the wacom BAMBOO tablet

By amombiedrolozano on December 11, 2015

When I saw them for first time several years ago, I wondered how it would feel to draw with a tablet. I thought that only fashion designers used them… I was wrong.

Luckily, a few weeks ago, I had the chance to try one BAMBOO Wacom tablet that the Keck Center has, in companion with Illustrator, the well know drawing program for graphic designers.


I can only say good things about it and here I am sharing with you some tips in case you want to try this wonderful tool. Since abstract thinking when talking about this kind of tools can get very tricky, I will do it while I design a poster for The Keck Center Short Film Festival hosted by the language interns next semester.

First of all, open a new document and make sure you choose the adequate size of paper.


Before you start your design, I would recommend you to show the rulers, the background grid and the guides. (Click the bottom on the pen and the menu will show up) None of them would appear in the printed version and they will help you with the composition.

Drawing with the tablet is a piece of cake, especially if you have the drawing already done in paper since you just have to literally draw on it with the pen on the tablet.

One of the coolest things when drawing in Illustrator is that the lines have two main qualities: the stroke and the interior. (Obviously only a closed line has an interior) And we can change these properties selecting our element/piece of drawing with the Black Arrow.

Black Arrow

As I just named it, here are two main editing tools:
The Black Arrow aims to change just the proportions and properties of the whole selected element, and the White Arrow would just change the position of the selected part of the whole element. (Which means that if you want to move just a corner to make a shape different, you will need the white arrow, whereas if you want to change the position of the text box, you would need the black arrow.)

Adding text it’s easy as well, just select the tool Text and draw the size of the text box you want to write in. Once you have introduced the text, it can be edited.

For the design of this poster, I decided to draw a few lines on the figures of the image, and I would them to look like a water color print, so I had chosen the strokes that look like water color and I will chose a bluish color for them.


The easiest way to do it was by drawing the lines first and then, with the Black Arrow, edit their stroke and color. With the white arrow we can also change their dimensions.

watercolor brushes

Hoping this post will be helpful for those students interested in graphic design, I encourage you to come to the Keck Center and try this amazing tools and apps.

There are many things we can do with Illustrator: logos, covers for theses, posters for our events, flyers, birthday cards or just turn your hand drawings into a digital reality, easy to modify, reproduce and share.


Summer Language Scholarships

By Cory Duclos on December 7, 2015

With support from the Lampert Institute, students can apply for scholarships to support intensive summer language study. These scholarships are meant to support current Colgate students in one or more of the following ways:


  • Students who are interested in an intensive and immersive language study over the summer;
  • Students who want to study a language not currently taught at Colgate;
  • Students who would like to advance their language study in order to participate on a language-based Colgate study group;
  • Advanced students who wish to study beyond the levels currently offered at Colgate or to conduct independent research in a foreign language;
  • Students whose language study at Colgate has been interrupted by course conflicts or illness;
  • Students who would like to participate in a language and cultural immersion program abroad.

Language programs located both within the U.S. and abroad may be supported. Students should work with Colgate professors to determine a reputable language program, and one that fills an important curricular need for the student. Funds can be made available to cover the program fees and travel costs associated with participating in the program.


Students can request up to $3,000 to support the costs of the intensive language summer program and/or travel to the program. Priority will be given to students on financial aid at Colgate. Requests by students studying languages that are consistent with the mission of the Lampert Institute are especially encouraged; the Lampert Institute promotes language study and travel in the following regions: Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or South/Central America. However, students studying languages from other regions will also be considered.


The Language Council at Colgate will review student proposals and make funding decisions. For more information, interested students should contact Aaron Solle, program coordinator for the Lampert Institute and Center for International Programs, by email (asolle@colgate.edu). Applications should be submitted by email to Aaron Solle by February 4, 2016.


Applying for a Summer Language Scholarship

Please include:

  1. A personal statement describing the program in which you would like to participate and the reasons for doing so. Please provide specific details, including the name and description of the program, dates of participation, the level of language instruction offered at the program, and the estimated costs of the program (including travel costs). Feel free to list an alternative program as a back-up. Also discuss your goals for participating in the program, and how the program will supplement your academic plan. Please indicate in the statement if you are on financial aid. Limit your personal statement to one page. If relevant, please indicate the other sources of Colgate funding that you are applying for to support your summer language program (e.g., Career Services. summer research).
  2. One letter of recommendation from a Colgate faculty member that provides a rationale for participating in the language program and an assessment of the student’s ability for successfully completing the program. The letter should be emailed directly to Professor Simpson.

If you are considering transferring the credit back to Colgate, you must work with the registrar’s office to get pre-approval for the credit well before the program begins. The transfer credit will follow the transfer credit policies at Colgate. Transfer credit that is not pre-approved by Colgate will not be considered after the program is complete. Upon completion of the intensive summer language program, students will be asked to write a brief report about their experience.


Improve your Spanish skills by learning gestures

By amombiedrolozano on October 26, 2015

Speaking with gestures

In Spanish culture, as in many other Mediterranean cultures, language body is a major language. Very often used for situations with a noisy background in which shouting is not enough, also for sentences that are explained better with movements.

These gestures are not learned at school and they are absolutely liked with the speaking language and almost every Spaniard knows its meanings.

We provide the most common of these gestures here, in case you travel to Spain and see that people answer to your questions with a body language sentence because, the most interesting part of this, is that no words are needed when using gestures.



“Un montón / Mucho”

“A hell of a lot”

Meaning: We use as an answer to a situation in which there were plenty of things/people or to express intensity of a quality. (Was the lunch good? Was the exam difficult?)

How to do it: Shake your whole hand loosely from the wrist.



Qué huevon:huevona

“Qué huevon/huevona”

“He/she’s so sluggish and lazy”

Meaning: To refer to someone as a piece of work in a lazy way or when something is taking this person a very long time. Like when you want someone to leave home for a dinner (because you are in a hurry) but he/she is doing things really slowly and you are starting to lose you patiente.

How to do it: the hands are lowered below the waist, slightly clenched and moved up and down as if to indicate a great burden.



Se ha quedado así (de delgado:delgada)

“Se ha quedado así”

“He/she has ended up like this”

Meaning: To say that someone has gotten extremely thin. (As thing as a pinky)

How to do it: the little finger is held up alone.


Te lo juro

“Te lo juro”

“I swear”

Meaning: You make a promise after saying something.

How to do it: thumb inside a clenched fist, the hand is raised to the mouth and the thumb kissed before throwing the hand forward and flicking the thumb up.



Te vigilo

“Te vigilo”

“I’m watching you”

Meaning: It’s not literal but more a kind of a threat, usually said to kids when you don’t want them to move from a spot.

How to do it: the index and middle fingers are first pointed at the eyes, then the index finger pointed at the person being addressed.



Te voy a dar

“Te voy a dar”

“I’m going to get/smack you”

Meaning: Often use when kids are not behaving very good, after making eye contact with the kid, so then you are serious about it.

How to do it: the hand is held in front of the body, palm up and pointing forward, and makes a few sharp movements from right to left.



Yo me lavo las manos

“Yo me lavo las manos”

“I wash my hands (of this) ”

Meaning: When we want to express that we have nothing to do with what is being said in the conversation.

How to do it: the hands are briskly rubbed together and then held in front of the body as if to show they are clean.






Meaning: Get off the phone or stop wittering.

How to do it: the index and middle fingers imitate the movement of a pair of scissors.



Está lleno de gente

“Está lleno”

“It’s full”

Meaning: When we want to express that a place is full of people or it’s packed. Only works when talking about people, never for objects.

How to do it: one or both hands are placed in front of the body then rapidly opened and closed.



Estoy a dos velas

“Estoy a dos velas”

“Down to two candles”

Meaning: Nothing to do with the candles, but, in other words, “I’m totally broke” or “I am no significant other”. Probably, due to the fact that when you are alone you may have a romantic dinner by yourself with just two candles.

How to do it: the index and middle fingers are passed downwards in front of the face, starting just below eye level.