What is the Foreign Language Language Fair?

The BYU Foreign Language Language Fair is an annual, competitive event designed to allow middle, junior high, and high school students to showcase the language skills they have acquired from studying a foreign language.

What is Españolandia?

Each language department at BYU also hosts a simulated travel experience to a foreign country that allows fair attendees to practice their conversational skills after completing their competitive event(s). The name of the Spanish “country” is Españolandia; the French country is La Petite France; the German country is Kleindeutschland; etc.

In Españolandia, students use their passport to pass through customs and immigration, exchange their own money at the “bank” for pesos, and obtain additional stamps in their passport as they participate in a variety of communicative activities with the “residents” and “shopkeepers” of Españolandia. In order to exit the country, students must obtain seven stamps in their passports. Students may also purchase food and authentic souvenirs while in Españolandia using pesos. More information regarding Españolandia FAQs is available here.

Which languages are invited to the BYU Foreign Language Fair?

Each major language department at BYU hosts a language fair on the same day. Presently, fairs are conducted for students of Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. More information regarding the Language Fair in general is available here.

Is there a restriction on the number of students who may attend?

Each language department sets its own rules based on its ability to provide personnel to supervise and judge the events. For Spanish, each school is currently invited to bring up to 100 students to the Spanish Fair. However, EVERY student MUST participate in at least one competitive event; that is, students may NOT come with the intent of only attending Españolandia. Participation in Españolandia is offered as a reward to those who have worked hard to prepare for the competitions.

How are students divided up for the different Spanish Fair events?

Students are divided into the following categories: Middle/Intermediate School (Second Year Traditional and Any Year Non-Traditional), Junior High School (Second Year Traditional, Third Year Traditional, and Any Year Non-Traditional), and High School (Second Year Traditional, Third Year Traditional, Fourth Year Traditional, and Fifth Year Traditional / Any Year Non-Traditional).

The “Non-Traditional” (Advanced) category includes all fifth-year Spanish students, immersion students, native/heritage Spanish speakers, and students who have lived in a Spanish-speaking country for an extended period of time.

1st year Spanish students cannot participate in the the Spanish Language Fair or Españolandia.

I have students who are enrolled in Spanish 2, 3, or 4 at my school who might qualify as a Non-Traditional Language Level. What do I do?

Regardless of class in which enrolled, students who have had one year or more residence in a Spanish-speaking environment, have been part of an elementary school Immersion Program, or whose parents speak Spanish in the home, must be registered at the Non-Traditional language level. Failure to compete in the proper level (i.e. A student who obviously speaks at a more advanced level participating in 2nd Year event) may result in disqualification of the student and/or their team.

 I have Native Speaker students and/or Dual Immersion students, as well as students in Spanish 2, 3, and/or 4. Under what categories would I need to register my students?

Native Speakers, Dual Immersion, and 5th year+ students are all in the same skill level: Native/Non-traditional. The others are according to the number of years of study, e.g. 2nd year students = 2nd year skill (language) level.

When you enter students in an event it will be according to those skill levels described above. If a student wants to do poetry and they are a 3rd year student, you would enter 1 student in 3rd year poetry.

Keep in mind, for team events, such as the language bowl or skits, all students should be at the same skill level. For example, skits are judged by level, so if you enter a skit of 3rd year students you could not have students with a higher skill level participate, e.g. fourth year or Non-Traditional could not participate in that skit. Students at higher levels are welcome to participate but would need to enter a separate skit.

How are the events scheduled? Can we arrive late or leave early?

If you need to arrive late (after 8:00 AM) or leave early (before noon), please be aware of the following information.

There are three events that have a set schedule: the language bowl, the skits, and the “Spanish Fair Idol” singing competition. Schedules for these events are created by the Spanish Fair event organizers and are sent to the teacher who registered for the school via email about a week (or a few days for the language bowl) before the Spanish Fair. Because the language bowl is a tournament-style event, it is very difficult to adjust the schedule and we may not be able to accommodate any requests for specific arrival/departure times.

The other events (poetry recitation, talks, show & tell, etc.) are signed up for by the students at the Spanish Fair on a first come first serve basis after the opening assembly as follows:

  • Opening and closing assemblies are held in the WSC at 8:00 AM – 8:10 AM and 11:40 AM – 12:00 PM respectively.
  • Events are scheduled between 8:10 AM and 11:30 AM.
  • Students obtain information sheet from their teacher or at the information table in the WSC which lists the events and rooms. The information sheet will also be posted on the main page of the Spanish Fair website on the day of the event.
  • Students report to the designated room for their event(s) and sign up for a time on the posted sheets. Students should make a note of their time.
  • Students return to the event room at their scheduled time (arrive a few minutes early) to perform.

What kind of food is available for the students and chaperones?

A local Mexican restaurant will be providing the food for Españolandia (typically tacos, churros, chips and salsa) that can be purchased in Españolandia. We also have a frutería and panadería that will be selling fruits, juices, cake, breads, candy bars, etc.

Can students bring pets for Show & Tell?

Unless it is a service animal, animals are not allowed at the Foreign Language fair. If your students want to talk about a pet, we suggest that they just bring a picture of it.

Is there a charge to attend the Fair?

There is no charge to attend and participate in the competitive events of the Spanish Language Fair. However, there is a minimal charge (currently $4 per person) for participation in Españolandia. This fee offsets the cost of producing materials for the event, as well as the cost of mailings, trophies, etc., associated with the fair.

Students may also spend additional personal funds for purchases of food and souvenirs while in Españolandia.

There may also be a late fee of $50 assessed for schools that do not return the registration form by the specified deadline. (We really don’t want your money–we just want you to send your registration form to us on time so we can get the events organized!)

Why is the Fair held on a date that conflicts with our school’s Spring Break?

BYU must host the fair on a date when buildings are available and BYU is still officially “in session” in order to have sufficient faculty and BYU students to staff the event.  Consequently, we are limited to a single date each year (the “Reading Day” for winter semester).  We have been given a special dispensation that allows us to use our BYU students during the morning of that day only.

The actual date of the fair will vary slightly from year to year, as will dates for spring breaks for the myriad school districts who bring students to the fair.  If the date this year falls during your Spring Break, it may well fall during another district’s break during a subsequent year. You can check the dates page to see when the fair will be held in future years.

Do you publish a list the names of the winning students and schools on the website or anywhere else?

Each language that participates in the Fair (Spanish, French, German, etc.) may choose whether or not they post the names and schools of the winners for their Fair. The Spanish Fair chooses not to post the names of the winning students/schools because we don’t want to make the trophy thing seem bigger or more important than it already is. 🙂  Honestly, we’re hoping teachers don’t focus too much on the winning, but instead on all of their students practicing the Spanish that they are learning and having a good time at the Fair

Why Sweepstakes?
[Please read the following rules carefully to avoid disappointments.]

Several years ago, we decided to award a Sweepstakes trophy to the school garnering the highest number of points at the Spanish Language Fair. We also considered the idea of Sweepstakes as an indication of excellence and broad participation. In doing so, however, we realized that larger schools by their very nature, would have an advantage over smaller schools by entering more students in more events. In order to make it possible for smaller schools with high quality programs to be on a somewhat equal footing with the larger schools, we came up with a system that would count only two Superior ratings for each event in which the school entered. This way, if a school entered 100 poems and another only 20, both could be on an even par if at least two students from each school were awarded a Superior in that event. Each event would be assigned varying points based on amount of time estimated to prepare for participation, and on the difficulty of the event.

This year, we will offer five trophies in the Junior High/Middle/Intermediate School Division and five trophies in the High School Division: Sweepstakes, 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place and Honorable Mention.

Starting in 2018, we will also offer one trophy for the school with the highest number of Superiors divided by the number of students competing.

Over the years we have learned, however, that when a large school with several teachers enters several bowl teams, this leveling attempt may be thwarted in favor of larger schools. Therefore, after careful consideration, we revised our point system to alter the points possible for the Language Bowl. Since that time, rather than count both a 1st and a 2nd place finish in the Bowl from the same school, we count only the higher of the two. That is, if a school has more than one team that finishes in 1st or 2nd place, only one will be counted. (E.g., School A wins 1st place in 2nd year, and 2nd place in 3rd year: 35 points are awarded; School B has two teams that go to take 1st place in their respective levels: 35 points awarded; School C has two 2nd place finishers: 25 points awarded.) This will still allow teachers and students to benefit from the preparation and competition involved in the Language Bowl, yet eliminate, to some extent, the disparity inherent in “big school-little school” competitions. We know the system is far from perfect, but it is the one we have decided to use. If you choose to participate, you agree to abide by our decisions.

The Sweepstakes points will be awarded as follows:

Intermediate/Middle Schools and Junior High Schools

Event Skit ImpConv PrepTalk HumStory Poetry Show&Tell Name Tag Lang Bowl Total (Max)
Points* 20/20 15/15 15/15 10/10 10/10 10/10 5 35 or 25** 200

High Schools

Event Skit ImpTalk PrepTalk HumStory Poetry Show&Tell Name Tag Lang Bowl Total (Max)
Points* 20/20 15/15 15/15 10/10 10/10 10/10 5 35 or 25** 200

*Only two Superiors in each category or event will count toward the Sweepstakes competition.
**Note: 35 points will be awarded to the finalist in the Language Bowl; 25 points will be awarded to the Team they defeat in the final round (i.e., the runner-up). Schools may enter multiple teams if they have several teachers and levels, BUT ONLY ONE Language Bowl Team Finalist or Runner-up will be counted towards the trophies.