Our grantees| Eva Strnadová| Foreign Languages Not So Foreign
27. June 2018 Eva Strnadová

Foreign Languages Not So Foreign

How difficult is it to study foreign languages in such a multicultural city as London, where there are more than 300 languages spoken at local schools? Students at University College London have multiple opportunities to acquire a new language or to improve themselves in one.

It is essential to consolidate the English language not only for a written and oral expression on the academic level, but also as a lingua franca in a multicultural environment. The Writing Lab organises a course, due to which participants improve their English grammar. There are clearly divided sections in which you will for example find an explanation of the function of adverbs in a sentence or of punctuation. You can improve your rhetorical skills during conversations organised by Writing and Language Support. Students weekly meet over a cup of coffee in an informal setting of a university coffee shop. A PhD student leads a discussion about the news.

If students are interested in foreign languages, University College London offers paid courses with a reduced price for students, alumni and employees of the university. You can study a diverse languages from Arabic, Icelandic to Sanskrit. The online database Clie offers films, documents, textbooks and dictionaries in different languages. A cheaper version of studying languages is a membership in a student society, which unites native speakers of a specific country and students, who are interested in this county’s culture and language. The Italian Society is famous for its cooking courses, the Francophone Society offers wine tasting and you can as well study the Czech Language in the Czech and Slovak Society. This academic year, I attended lessons organised by the German Society and lead by a native speaker. In addition to language classes, you can celebrate Oktoberfest, watch chosen German film, meet up regularly in a German coffee shop, visit the German Embassy or get in touch with invited German employers. Equally, you can take part in a programme called Tandem, in which two native speakers teach one another their mother tongue. However, it is problematic for Czechs to find people interested in learning the Czech language.

There are cultural possibilities of learning foreign languages outside school. According to my personal experience, I can recommend the French Institute, which organises accept from cultural events and film screening regular meetings about literary and philosophical topics. You pay a symbolic price to become a part of a discussion group in English and in easy French. Café Philo meets regularly every Saturday. You can discuss philosophical issues in English and in French. Goethe Institute offers two free book clubs which monthly meet. The first focuses on classic literature which is available in English translation. The second requires a higher level of the German language because attendees read contemporary books without an English translation available. Participants can buy books or borrow them in the Institute’s library. London and especially the university environment are ideal for improving foreign languages or learning new ones from scratch. When else do you have time to learn Italian with native speakers and your peers during baking a pizza for a membership which costs £5?

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