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Call for student stories

Thank you for your interest in the L'IMAGE project!

We would like to thank every student who share their story with us! We have finished the story selection process for the pilot phase of the project in 2022-2023. The invitations to the selected students will be sent out by Haili, the RA of L'IMAGE, in the coming days! Please look out for email from [at]

Hi, I’m Dr. Ai Taniguchi, a linguist from the UTM Department of Language Studies, and I want to celebrate the diversity of languages at U of T! In my L’IMAGE (Language, Identity, Multiculturalism and Global Empowerment) project, I am looking to interview U of T students about the relationship between the language(s) that they know and their identity. These student stories will be turned into comics and will be shared via social media and in educational settings. With these comics, I hope to increase intercultural empathy among U of T community members.  


Right now, we’re calling for students to submit a short description of their stories. If your story is selected, we will invite you to an interview and a free pizza party! If you are ready to share your story, click the link below that will navigate you to the submission portal! But before you do, you may want to read the information about eligibility and story examples below.  


Submission link (closed)

The story submission deadline is 11:59pm (Toronto time) on Sunday, October 9th.

NEW: Story submission deadline extended until 11:59pm (Toronto time) on Sunday, October 23rd!

There may be other phases of the L'IMAGE project, with more opportunities for submitting your story! Please follow the project on Instagram or Twitter at @LinguistAiT for updates. 




For any questions related to the L'IMAGE project, please email Dr. Taniguchi at:


Frequently Asked Questions

What is this project? Who are you?


L’IMAGE project is led by Dr. Ai Taniguchi, a linguistics professor in the Department of Language Studies at UTM (some of you may know her as the instructor of LIN204, a very popular online course at UTM!). This project is funded by the University of Toronto’s International Student Experience Fund, and we are working in collaboration with the International Education Centre at UTM. You can read a bit more about the project on the About page.

Who can submit a story?

We’re looking for currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students at U of T (all campuses). Both international and domestic students are welcome to submit their stories! 


What kind of stories are you looking for? 


We’re looking for a wide range of lived experiences of multilingual individuals in Canada, particularly stories about the relationship between the languages they know and their identity. We're also interested in hearing stories about various dialects of English (and other languages). Please make sure that your story is your own story, not someone else's, and not a fictional one! Here are examples of some (but not all) topics:  


  • “Things that surprised me about Canadian English as an international student” 

  • “Funny moments of miscommunication because of the various languages I know” 

  • “Navigating my multicultural/multilingual identities while growing up multilingual in Canada” 

  • “Why I’m proud to be multilingual” 

  • "What it was like for me growing up multilingual"

  • "What it was like for me growing up speaking a certain dialect of English"

  • "How my language(s) were affected during the pandemic"

  • “My language, my name, and my identity” 

  • “Some interesting differences about the different languages that I know” 

  • “How my language(s) affect my identity and my life as a UofT student” 

  • “My struggles as someone who uses [insert language]” 

  • “How people treat me because of the language(s) I use”

  • "What people think about my dialect"

  • “What it was like growing up as someone who uses [insert language]” 

  • “Some misconceptions about my language” 

  • “Common stereotypes about my language” 

  • “Things people ask me because of my multilingualism/multiculturalism”  


When in doubt, just tell us a little bit about the language(s) that you know, and how they play an important role in your life and identity. 

Stories about any language are welcome! We are especially interested in hearing stories about the following languages and themes:

  • Indigenous languages (e.g., Nishnaabemwin)  

  • American Sign Language or other signed languages 

  • Mandarin  

  • Cantonese 

  • African American English / African American Vernacular English / Black English and other dialects of North American English 

  • Languages of India, such as Hindi, Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, etc.

  • Dialects of Canadian English (e.g., Saskatchewan English) 

  • Québécois French

  • Toronto English, Toronto slang

  • Non-Indo-European languages, such as Tagalog, Arabic, Somali, Yoruba, Japanese, etc. 

  • International student experience about adjusting to Canada and learning (Canadian) English 

  • Winter in Canada (as related to language; e.g., language-related incidents that took place during the Winter semester) 

  • Using English in an academic setting 

  • Domestic students’ experiences growing up bilingual/multilingual 

So, what are you going to do with these stories? 


Currently, we’re asking for people to submit a short summary of their story (however, in the submission portal, you also have the option to give a more detailed account of your story in either text or audio format!). 10 stories will be selected from these submissions. The students who submitted the selected stories will then be invited for an interview in November 2022 with Dr. Taniguchi, who will then create the comics. Don't worry, the interview won't be super formal: it's more like an informal chat! :) You may also be asked to write a guided reflection of your experience participating in the project at the conclusion of the project period. 


Eventually, Dr. Taniguchi will turn 10 stories into comic strips, which will be shared on the social media pages of the International Education Centre at UTM. The comics will also be used during international student orientations, student leader training events, and other educational settings. The comics will be posted on this website, too!

When and how will we find out if our story is selected?


After submission closes on October 9th, Dr. Taniguchi will review the submissions. We hope to notify selected students in late October. If selected, you will receive an email from the L'IMAGE team.

How is my personal information being protected in the process? 


The information you provide in the submission portal will only be accessible to Dr. Taniguchi and her Research Assistant for the purposes of story selection. We won't be sharing any of your information with anyone else without your consent. After the conclusion of the project, your submission information will be anonymized and stripped of any personally identifiable data, and will be stored as a password-protected file on a secure server. 


If your story is selected, and you agree to participate further, you will have the choice to be anonymous / use a pseudonym in the published comics. You will also have a chance to review the comic strip of your story before publishing. Finally, you may withdraw from the project at anytime if you feel uncomfortable with sharing your personal story.   

This project constitutes program evaluation, quality assurance, or quality improvement within the mandate of the University of Toronto, Office of the Vice-President International, International Student Experience Fund, and the University of Toronto Mississauga, Student Affairs and Services, and is exempt from research ethics review under the federal research ethics guidelines.


What about the pizzas?  


We intend to invite all 10 selected participants to a pizza party, or, at the very least, a free pizza will get to you eventually. More details on this later! 

If my story is selected, how will I benefit from participating in this project?


If your story is selected and you do the interview, you will get to speak with an expert (a real linguist!) about your language, which may help you understand your identity better. You may even learn a little bit of linguistics along the way! Many people reading the comics will relate to your story, which will help them feel seen and heard. For others, your story will be something they've never experienced; by reading your story, their empathy for others will hopefully be increased. We hope that this process will be an overall empowering one! (Oh there's the free pizza of course, too! :P ) 

What kind of comic strips are we talking about?

Here is an example of what a comic might look like! The number of pages may vary depending on the story, but it won't be anything longer than 8 pages.

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