A world of languages at Durham University

Monday brought together learners of French, German and Spanish from 11 secondary schools in the North of England : from Ullswater in Cumbria to Richmond in Yorkshire and from Royal Grammar School in Newcastle to Whitburn Academy. Over 150 young people and their teachers followed an intensive day’s programme of workshops. German GCSE pupils worked with Lorna Price from Goethe Institut and explored their likes in music and compiled their favourite music playlists. Spanish A level students worked intensively with university staff and students on a number of creative writing challenges and French A level candidates explored the film “ Les Misérables” with a university lecturer and students.

The young people worked from 1000 – 1400; using the target language as much as possible. They were joined by university undergraduates and members of the university’s teaching staff who helped them make the most of the day.

Quotes from staff and pupils as they reflected o the day are shown below :

The day was a tremendous success; bringing academic study together with discussions about career opportunities and wider language learning.

Our students thought it was fun, and that the time went quickly. They were also interested to learn about the many employment prospects that proficiency in languages can offer, and where languages can take you in the future.

“ Thank you for making us come today, it’s made me rethink the whole going to university thing again now because I think I could really do well studying languages” 

The feedback was incredibly positive. This was the best day out and so interactive. Students contributed with enthusiasm because it was so non-threatening.

We had such a fantastic day and it was wonderful to see our students speaking so much German spontaneously. It was also great for them to interact with so many other German speakers of their age. What a joy to see so many Germanists all together. We also enjoyed hearing different people’s experiences showing how useful learning languages is in all walks of life.

I watched their confidence grow throughout the day which was fantastic to see

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