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Drumroll, Please! Announcing the Languages and Me Video Contest Winners

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the Languages and Me Video Contest!

This contest was inspired by the video series we created last year on the life-changing benefits of learning new languages, starring Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri.

In these short video segments, Lahiri talks about her experience of learning Italian as an adult and the valuable life lessons that she learned, like how to survive embarrassing mistakes and how to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. You can read about how learning Italian helped her find a new voice in this recent New York Times article.

In addition to being freely available on the McGraw Hill Education website, these videos can now be assigned as part of a module on intercultural competence across all McGraw Hill World Languages titles in McGraw Hill Connect®, our learning platform. We hope that many people will find these videos to be inspiring and useful.

For the Language and Me Video Contest, we asked entrants to produce their own short videos that answered the question,

“How has learning another language made your life better?”

Whatever the approach, we wanted a glimpse into individual experiences that demonstrated a transformation—either big or small.

The contest, open from April 21 – June 1, received many impressive entries!

Our deep thanks go to everyone who entered, sharing a great variety of language-learning experiences. We loved seeing the many ways life gets better when you learn a language.

And now to announce our amazing winners!

Our 3rd place winner and recipient of a $150 gift card is Jessica Rojas Vargas. Jessica grew up in San Bernardino, California, and is currently a Spanish major at Fresno City College. She’s is a native Spanish speaker who learned English in school, and she’s passionate about helping others navigate language barriers. In her video, Jessica tells how her experience led to her chosen career path.

Our 2nd place winner and recipient of a $250 gift card is Drew Baldwin. Drew was born and raised in Berkeley, California, and is a rising senior at Northeastern University in Boston, where she’s studying International Affairs with a minor in International Security and a regional concentration in East Asia. Upon graduation, Drew hopes to continue her Mandarin language studies and regional interest in East Asia at a university in China, eventually pursuing a career in diplomacy. Find out how learning Mandarin helped Drew find her own voice.

Our 1st place winner and recipient of a $500 gift card is Artis Trice. Artis is a recent graduate of Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, where he majored in Geography and minored in Spanish and Environmental Studies. Raised in Ellenwood, Georgia, he has a passion for learning about culture, languages, and human-environment interactions. He was recently awarded the 2021-22 Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship through the Congressional Hunger Institute. Beginning this fall, he’ll spend half the year in Washington, D.C. working on anti-hunger policy at the national level and the other half supporting a community organization working on food security at the local level. He hopes to continue his work in food security planning and environmental education in the future. Learn more about Artis’ journey and how he got from being petrified to speak in 9th-grade Spanish class to where he is today.


Huge congratulations and THANK YOU to the Languages and Me Video Contest winners!