Open House 2023 starts this Friday! Among the CLL staff the anticipation is starting to build. For those who have been on the team since the last Open House, in 2018, feelings of anxiety are interwoven with gleeful sentiment. We are cognizant of the immense amount of planning that goes into two days of foreign language activities. But we are also fuelled by memories of smiling, excited faces, laughter and loads of positive feedback. For our newer staff members, curiosity is perhaps at an all-time high. Despite this range of emotions, we are confident that this Open House will certainly be momentous. As one of the major events organized for our 25th anniversary, this year’s Open House theme is “Explore the World with the CLL!” It promises to remind everyone attending that the CLL continues to be a vibrant hub for all things foreign language-related. But what exactly is involved in hosting the triennial Open House? Today we take you behind the scenes in order to whet your appetite for the March 24 and 25 activities.


Believe it or not, planning for the 2023 Open House began in September 2022. Acting Director, Dr Nicole Roberts, met virtually with the foreign language coordinators to begin planning. The first aspects discussed were the potential dates, the theme, the languages represented, potential budget and marketing of the event. This initial meeting sought to lay the symbolic cornerstone of the Open House event. The team went away enthused about the various activities they could organize to emphasise the theme of exploration of foreign languages and cultures. Semester 1 rolled on, 2022 ended, and 2023 commenced with a bang. Once registration ended and semester 2 teaching began, the team met in February 2023 to provide planning updates. Fortunately, the discussion was ripe with ideas and at the end of it, the excitement to carry out a wide range of activities was palpable.

More planning...

With the language coordinators focused on their respective language(s), Open House planning switched into another gear. The coordinators engaged with their tutors to ascertain everyone’s availability for the two days. They also determined the number of students required to help with the various activities. For languages wanting to provide samples, door prizes, and display authentic materials, tutors sent out requests for donations. In addition, coordinators contacted local performers regarding their participation in this year’s Open House. Do you remember the capoeira performance at Open House 2015 or the salsa dancing lessons at Open House 2018? This year, we look forward to Afrobeats performances, Latin dancing sessions and Zumba, to mention a few. Tutors also enlisted the help of their students to prepare materials for displays around the CLL and their language-related activities. Now, customarily, the Friday of Open House is dedicated to secondary school students, although members of the campus community and public are also welcome. So permission was also sought from the Ministry of Education for schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago to attend on March 24.

Spreading the word

Beginning in March 2023, we ramped up our social media advertising. Of course, our aim was to increase visibility of Open House 2023. However, we also wanted to engage more with our community, recognizing that much of the CLL’s excellence is due to our dedicated students and staff. Thus, we produced a variety of language-related content. From a trivia contest, to staff and student features, to boomerangs from friends of the CLL, which included the hashtag #myCLL. The winner of the trivia contest will be announced on the Friday of Open House. Haven’t entered yet? There’s still time. Here are the rules:

How to Enter and Win

  • Like the original post.
  • Re-share to your feed/story, along with your answer and the hashtag #myCLL.
  • Tag us in the post.
  • Your profile must be made public.
  • Answer all 8 questions correctly.
  • Winner will be announced on March 24.

We are grateful for the current students and staff members that took the time to create short videos with 3 useful phrases in their respective language. With our social media presence abuzz, we then created an Open House event page on Facebook and shared it with our networks. We wrote short articles about the event and promoted these on our social media platforms. And certainly worth mentioning is the local favourite, word-of-mouth.

What to expect

Now that you have a fair idea of the behind-the-scenes of Open House, what awaits you? Without revealing too much, here’s a glimpse.


Mandarin Chinese

When you visit the Mandarin Chinese in Room 8, you can expect to test your knowledge with trivia questions. You will be able to play language games, learn and taste authentic Chinese tea. There will be opportunities for you to create beautiful paper art through their paper cutting and paper folding activities. You will also be able to memorialize your experience by taking a picture in the selfie corner. The Chinese tutors and students look forward to seeing you there!


When you stop by the French in Room 2, you will have the opportunity to test your French spelling skills by participating in a spelling bee. Likely, you will be invited to travel to Paris to learn about the Eiffel tower and build your own model. And you will also be able to discover a bit of French gastronomy as you visit Café Paris, located in the same room. The French team has organized to play games like pétanque outside of the CLL, on the lawn next to the fence. They certainly look forward to having you!



A visit to the Japanese in the Lecture Room will take you on a journey to Japan. You will be invited to participate in karaoke and cosplay activities. There will also be activities for you to test your knowledge of Japanese trivia. You will have the opportunity to participate in chopstick games, and attend origami and calligraphy workshops. The Japanese tutors and the Japanese learners look forward to welcoming you to their room.


When you visit the Spanish in Rooms 11 and 12, you will explore Latin American culture. There will be opportunities to dance during their Latin dancing and Zumba sessions. Your knowledge of Spanish will be tested in their translation competition. If you are interested in learning Spanish, you will have the opportunity to take a mini Spanish lessons. And for the singers among us, you will be able to sing along to Spanish karaoke. The Spanish section and their students look forward to seeing you!



Visiting the Yoruba section in Room 5, promises to be quite an experience. You will be invited to attend an Afrobeats performance. Yoruba fashion will be on display during their fashion show. You will be able to view original works of art in their art exhibition, and explore your creative side during their art and craft activities. There will also be Nigerian food such as jollof rice, fufu, efo, dodo and suya. The Yoruba section looks forward to welcoming you!

Now as we said before, this is just a glimpse. There will be a lot more to discover from these languages and our other taught languages, Arabic, English as a Second Language, German, and Portuguese. So don’t miss out. Admission is free and Open House is a family-friendly event. The 2023 Open House, however, is not the end of our 25th anniversary celebrations. Beginning on March 28, our Diversity Latin American Film Festival begins. See our event page for trailers and more information. In the months to come, you can also expect Japanese cultural events, Chinese New Year Drawing, and much more…So be sure to connect with us on our socials to stay abreast of the various activities.