A Modest Proposal for Modern Languages and Literature

Dear Department of Modern Languages and Literatures,

I must admit I am impressed with the array of languages you have cultivated into Washington, as well as the language houses, which are a superb establishment of culture cocoons for students to envelope themselves.  However, I am displeased with the lack of Icelandic Studies.

Go ahead, scoff.  But you know what?  If William & Mary wants to be the leader in liberal arts education, then I propose it starts leading its students to the Iceland.  Modern Languages and Literatures, can you imagine the possibilities?  Obviously not, so let me break it down for you.

I’m sure you remember that volcano eruption about a few months ago?  Yeah, the one that disrupted international airline travel.  Well, if you had offered Icelandic then we would have been able to partner with a top university in Reykjavík and therefore offered a semester exchange through the Reves Center (which would have boosted our fantastic travel abroad program, am I wrong?), which means we would been able to send students to Iceland, Geology students to Iceland, and they would have been able to predict the eruption before it happened-and the world would have been ready and all right.  But no.  Our students could not have been able to been the glorious seers of international-volcanic disruption.

Offering Icelandic would mean you would have to erect an Icelandic House, Modern Languages.  And yano what?  I’m down for that.  I say we build it really close to Lake Matoaka, similar to how the Colonial House is in the middle Colonial Williamsburg.  You could blast Sigur Rós and Björk all day long, attracting and branching out to the Music Department, who I’m sure would love to develop a sporadic Icelandic semester seminar.  I can just see the wall decorated with fishing nets, and pictures of mountains, and ice, and lava, and grass, and goats, and happy people.  Oh, gosh. The mirth.

And don’t you dare start about the Iceland’s economic crisis, Modern Languages.  Hello, we have some great Economic, Government, and International Relations majors who would love to travel to Iceland and totally reinvent that country.  But they would have to learn Icelandic first, so how about you start teaching them?  Can’t you just feel the satisfaction and accomplishment from knowing that you could teach students the necessary language to save Iceland from the pick?  It would truly put both the College and your entire department on the map, attracting hundreds of prospective students, who also want to change the world, too.

The future is now, so go ahead, beat Rosetta Stone to the punch and start teaching Icelandic.  I know that deep down in your heart you want to make a massive change, not only on campus, but in the world, too.

p.s.-How in the world can the College even think about offering Medieval and Renaissance Studies as a major without designing an Icelandic curriculum?  Are you kidding me?  Medieval is like Norse, which is like Vikings, which are like Scandinavian, which is Iceland.


Categories: Academics, Student Blogs

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