The Learning Through Languages High School Research Symposium is a unique way for North Carolina world language students to conduct and present preliminary research in their language of study. Eligible students include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian or Spanish students, including heritage speakers. Participating students are encouraged to be at Level III or higher.

Save the date for LTL 2019: December 5, 2019
Informational webinar with DPI World Languages (register here!): September 23
Application deadline: October 10
Notification of acceptance: October 15

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the program.

Click here to access the 2018 Participant Portal which contains the program guidelines, rubric, and suggested research topics.

Student participants:

  • Create teams of 2-3 students
  • Choose from six research tracks with regional focuses: Contemporary Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, or Russia and East Europe
  • Write a 2-3 page informative research paper on a topic related to the track of their choice
  • Create a project visual to present to UNC and Duke language instructors at the Symposium in December
  • Present their research to UNC and Duke faculty and language instructor judges in the target language
  • Come to UNC for the symposium in December and network with UNC and Duke faculty, staff, students, and other high school language learners from throughout the state

Your students:

  • Learn basic research methodology
  • Practice oral and written expression in a practical setting
  • Participate in cooperative learning
  • Use creativity and 21st century skills
  • Engage in global studies
  • Interact with UNC-CH and Duke faculty and language instructors



If you have questions about the program, please feel free to contact:

  • Emma Harver, Program/Outreach Coordinator, Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies

Resources for the Sponsoring Teacher

  • CLAC Consortium: The Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) movement intends to make global competence a reality for students and to create alliances among educators to share practices and find ways to incorporate an international dimension in curricula, and, more generally, to achieve internationalization goals.
  • UNC Languages Across the Curriculum Program
  • Duke Cultures and Languges Across the Curriculum
  • APA Style Guide from the Online Writing Lab at Perdue: The APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).
  • What Makes A Good Research Question? From Duke University: A research question guides and centers your research. It should be clear and focused, as well as synthesize multiple sources to present your unique argument. Even if your instructor has given you a specific assignment, the research question should ideally be something that you are interested in or care about. Be careful to avoid the “all-about” paper and questions that can be answered in a few factual statements.
  • Resources for oral communication in the classroom

Sample Research Topics

Students will neither receive preference nor be penalized for use of suggested research topics.

Contemporary Africa Track:
Which countries in Africa have the strongest economies today, and what is the relationship between strong economies and democratic governance in those countries?
How have Asian countries such as China, India, and South Korea affected agriculture and mining in African countries?
Contemporary Asia Track:
● How might the recent aggressions by North Korea affect how people perceive Asia?
● With India currently being the world’s fastest growing economy, what role does India have to play in securing stability and peace in Asia?
Contemporary Europe (Western) Track:
● What are the main effects of the refugee crisis on Europe?
● What is the nature of the EU and NATO’s relationships with Russia?
Contemporary Latin America and Caribbean Track:
● What issues and challenges to people who have been deported from the U.S. to their home countries, such as Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, face?
● What reforestation efforts have been most successful in Latin America and why?
Contemporary Middle East and North Africa Track:

● How has the political climate in Egypt changed since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011? How successful was the movement in achieving its goals? What counter measures has current government taken against protesters and what is the state of basic freedoms and human rights under the current authorities?
● Women have played an important role in generating social change in the MENA region. What kinds of activism are women engaging in throughout the region, and what are their roles in contemporary movements, revolts and/or revolutions?
Contemporary Russia and East Europe:
● What is the nature of Russia’s renewed political influence on the world stage, and how much of it can be contributed to Vladimir Putin’s leadership style?
● Why does Russia care so much about what happens in Ukraine?

Interested in Learning More? Watch this LTL Video!


Student Projects



“Participating in Learning Through Languages has taught me so much. It has taught me how to research, how to make something interactive, how important it is to know what is going on in the world, how to cooperate, and so much more. It was so nice to be in a room filled with other students who have spent time learning another language, and who have as much of a passion as me, and my classmates, about language and other cultures.” – Student Participant

“The students loved the open atmosphere of the symposium. It was a great experience for them to interact with the judges and witness the impressive quality of work of other students across the state. They expressed that they would love to come back if given the opportunity again.” – Teacher Participant

“I am grateful that I had opportunity to showcase my language abilities and further my knowledge of Chinese through partaking in Learning Through Languages. It was encouraging to realize that there are other people, including college professors, who are just as passionate about my journey to learn Chinese as I am.” – Student Participant

For names of winning teams and photos from past symposia, please visit the LTL 2015LTL 2016, LTL 2017, and LTL 2018 pages.