Multilingual Chicago Brings Culture and Language to the Square!

In just two years, the little-language-school-that-could is making headway in the neighborhood that houses and nurtures it. Opened in October 2009 with a staff of four, Multilingual Chicago now employs fifteen people and offers classes in fourteen different languages.

For Hilary Hodge, director of operations at Multilingual Chicago, Logan Square is the perfect location for their school. “It’s great to be in Logan Square,” she says. “We love our neighbors.”

The neighborhood’s history with different waves of immigrant populations, including German, Norwegian, Swedish, Polish, Russian, Puerto Rican, and Mexican, means that it is not uncommon to hear many languages other than English being spoken on the street or in bars or stores. “I think the multilingual history of Logan Square is really interesting,” says Hilary. “Our Polish classes in particular have been really popular…I think it’s because of the location, and because there’s so few places that offer Polish classes in Chicago. I think our location is especially ideal, in this multilingual little neighborhood.”

It’s hard not to find something that might suit your interests at Multilingual. There are classes covering the basics to get you started in a new language as well as more advanced offerings like the upcoming Spanish novel class. There are one-day bootcamps over the weekend for those who favor minimal commitment. There are even food-based events for those who might want to try a new cultural flavor but don’t have the tongue for language acquisition. “We had a Nutella day party last February--that was a lot of fun--where we had eight different vendors come in with different Nutella goodies,” says Hilary. “We had a kimchi day party two months ago.”

The school has also hosted cooking classes, wine tastings, and film screenings, in addition to participating in the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival, Logan Square Farmer’s Market, and Holidays on the Square.

And Multilingual will extend its reach even further in the coming year. Hilary projects that in 2012 the school will expand its supplementary language programs at schools, create bootcamp sessions for families, and host a monthly “free and fabulous” event that could feature such programming as a bollywood dance class or a pierogi-making class.

Winter adult classes for 2012 start up on January 9th and end March 5th. Classes include Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Italian, French, Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, German, and Korean. There are also many class offerings for kids.

Check out Multilingual’s website for more information, and keep an eye on the events page for some of those upcoming “free and fabulous” events!

Multilingual Chicago  
2934 N. Milwaukee Ave., Suite C
Chicago, IL 60618                     

--Tamara Matthews


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