Student foreign language magazine publishes new issue

The student foreign language magazine Babel published its annual issue May 14.

Courtesy of Emma Walther '21

The student foreign language magazine Babel published its annual issue May 14.

Claire Conner

Babel, the Upper School’s foreign language magazine, published its annual issue containing essays, poetry and recipes in modern and classical languages May 14.

In addition to a digital issue available on the school’s website, Babel can be found in the language office and the lounge.

As the magazine’s staff adjusted to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, students reflected on quarantine experiences in their written submissions. Head Chinese Editor Joie Zhang ’22 said this year’s virtual environment led to the creation of innovative content.

“The three COVID-related Chinese pieces are some of my favorites from the Chinese section in this year’s issue because of how much they encapsulate pandemic life,” Zhang said. “There’s an infographic on how to protect yourself from the coronavirus, a piece about creating a time capsule for 2020 and a student’s reflection on what it was like celebrating a socially-distanced Lunar New Year in 2021.”

This year’s magazine issue was published both digitally and in print.

Babel Editor-in-Chief Emma Walther ’21 said the staff adapted to new challenges that came with putting together a magazine virtually.

“The digital format may not have been ideal, but it did allow for us to incorporate more submissions than we have in the past,” Walther said. “Additionally, we made an effort to make this year’s magazine extremely colorful to hopefully bring a little light into such a difficult time.”

While designing this year’s publication online, Head Layout Editor Paisley Kandler ’22 said she appreciated the effort student writers and editors put into the magazine and looks forward to working with them on the campus.

“This year’s students crafted some phenomenal poems, essays, and recipes,” Kandler said. “It will be wonderful to have in-person Babel meetings again. As smoothly as layout went over Zoom, it will be nice to have editors working together in person.”

Babel editors said they appreciated the opportunity to work with their fellow staff members on the magazine.

Walther said she valued her experience working with peers who are passionate about language and encouraged all students to submit content to Babel after sending it to their language teachers.

“I have really enjoyed getting to meet so many juniors and sophomores as well as reading all of the amazing work that students submit,” Walther said. “I hope that Babel will continue to grow with more submissions and variety in coming years.”

After writing and editing content in Babel throughout an unconventional year, Zhang said she has more appreciation for the process of making the magazine.

“What’s so special about Babel is that we are a team of students who are all super passionate about world languages and cultures,” Zhang said. “Every year, it’s incredibly rewarding to work with this team to produce a magazine that showcases student work from all levels and languages, reflecting the diversity and multiculturalism inherent in the Harvard-Westlake community. Next year, I’m excited to continue working with this team to further that mission.”

The digital issue of Babel can be found here.