Campus Europae Newsletter, January 2008
Table of contents
- The Campus Europae language concept
- Fast Facts
- Campus Europae Master in Multilingualism and European Identity
- The Dubrovnick recommendations
- Upcoming events
- Meeting of the Language Experts Working Group
- Meeting with EUA's Secretary General
- Campus Europae Promotional Day
- Campus Europae International Day
The Campus Europae language concept
Since the 1st of January 2007 multilingualism has become a separate strategy of the EU and a crucial component of improving European integration and competitiveness. No one questions the necessity of learning foreign languages as it is an elementary way in spreading European, intercultural dialog and realizing European ideals as a free transfer of people and the labor force. The question must be posed, how can we convince people to learn languages, especially those which are considered to be minor-spoken languages and how can we help them to challenge that task successfully?
To find a realistic answer to these questions is vital: If mobility as one of the two main principles - besides European employability – of the Bologna-process is taken seriously we have to find methods of how to bring students during the three-years-bachelor for a semester or a study year to another country with a language he or she hadn’t learned at school. To find the answer is a pressing concern for a project like Campus Europae, because students should go into two foreign countries during their Bachelor and Master studies.
Therefore Campus Europae has been working on that issue since the very beginning and managed to develop a concept which is an answer to these questions.. A first expert-seminar took place in November 2005 under the headline: “How to achieve Multilingualism in Higher Education?” with the presentations of experts from the EU, Germany, Poland, Portugal and Serbia. (pdf file available here).
Learning a foreign language with its entire idiomatic and cultural context is a tough and time consuming experience, especially when one wants to learn a language from a different linguistic group. Although learning in the class room and repeating the grammar formula is a necessary part of language learning process which supplies students with the basic knowledge, it can be tiring and inefficient, above the elementary level. Most of the successful multilingual speakers are faced with real life situations when they were among the native speakers and when they had to use their linguistic skills ad hoc. As the experience for example in Novi Sad has shown, with the Campus Europae Intensive Language Course – six weeks with at least six contact hours per day - it is possible to bring students already before the start of an academic year on the A2 level. With that knowledge they can deal with daily situations what brings them step by step closer to the local, native community. Obviously, it's still not enough to attend all lectures in a local language, especially in the Natural Science or Engineering fields it seems to be possible to follow the classes. In conjunction it is possible to take part in the CE-LEP-programme: Student should be able to take part in daily life working situations.
Nevertheless it will be necessary to continue with less intensive language courses during the first and the second semester. In this way CE Movers should attain a B1 level at the end of the year. Although in most of the cases these competences are sufficient to follow the lectures in a local language, students have the right to ask for the exam in English. Fulfilling the language requirements is one of the most important criteria to be entitled to the Campus Europae Certificate. Not in all, but in the majority of the study programmes ECTS points gained on the language courses are recognized.
The very idea to teach students a foreign language intensively and in a relatively short period of time is not new. The “Polonicum” was initiated in the late 70,s by the University of Mainz to provide courses of Polish for German students who wanted to study in Poland. At that time there was a strict numerus clauses for Medicine-students in Germany, but there were opportunities for German students to be awarded a study place in Medicine in Krakow for example. Some years later the University of Münster installed a project called 'Studia Baltica' which offered similar courses of Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian. Today these programmes are directed not only to students but also to people who needed these languages from the professional reasons. Campus Europae has learned from this concept. In the meantime the installed Campus Europae Foreign Language Expert Group dealt with this and other concepts on their first meeting in February 2007 confirming the above mentioned frame for CE-Intensive Language Courses. The CE - Foreign Language Teaching Expert Group (FLTEX) is a team of language experts from all Campus Europae universities who develops this concept and implements it in the frame of Campus Europae Network. The Group is working currently to integrate the online courses in the whole teaching process so that CE movers can initiate learning already before a departure from their home country. Additionally, to support and accelerate the students' efforts Campus Europae foresees that the Learning Employability Places program which allows them to combine studying and working. In this way young academics can get outside the university world, deal with a real life work experiences and gain study related knowledge by working in a company and improving their language competences as well.
The importance of languages in a Europe without borders has grown significantly not only in the socio-cultural meaning but also because the pressures of globalization and the business world demand it. The last ELAN-study (2005) about “Effects on the European Economy of Shortage of Foreign Language” has shown that this fact impacts significantly European company’s bottom line and their profit margins due to their shortfall in having competent personnel who are proficient in foreign languages. As a consequence the labor force in Europe becomes more mobile, a companies' staff is more and more culturally and linguistically diverse and furthermore, if one wants to be competitive in today’s globalized world it is necessary to direct services Europe-wide. All these factors entail that languages skills are the fuel which will fire this economic impetus in European and will contribute positively to its ongoing evolution. Campus Europae offers a model to face that challenge.
Campus Europae Master in Multilingualism and European Identity
The inaugural meeting of the Campus Europae Master on Multilingualism and European Identity met in the University of Aveiro on the 10th and 11th of January 2008 following a resolution passed at the last Humanities subject committee held in Greifswald on November the 10th 2008.
This first meeting was intended to be an exploratory exercise in assessing the feasibility of the creation of a joint Masters programme focussing on the core tenets of Campus Europae. The creation of this project will be conducted under the auspices of the Humanities subject committee and draws upon the diverse range of expertise necessary for its formation available to it. This Master intends to explore the depth and breadth of European languages and exploring notions and ideas surrounding a sense of European identity as well as comprising modules of governance and European Affairs. The structure of the programme will be centred on a two year programme in any of the CE member universities participating culminating with a final thesis.
The formulation of such a programme is still in its infancy but indications bode well for the evolution of a unique and diverse programme which should serve the needs of any student who wises to undertake a programme which will endow them with a full understanding of Europe in its breadth and entirety The members of the CE Master in Multilingualism and European Identity are the Universities of Averio, Alcala, Greifswald Kaunas and Joensuu.
The Dubrovnik Recommendations: pursuing regional and European cooperation
The University of Dubrovnick hosted a Conference on Higher Education Reform on the 29 - 31 October 2007, co-organized with the Universities of Novi Sad, Vienna and Zagreb. The participants dealt with the topical issue of Higher Education Reform in the context of the Central and South Eastern European countries, in what has been a continuation of a debate initiated in Novi Sad in 2005, emcompassing matters as the profissionalization of managment and administration of higher education, the revision of the legal status of higher education institutions, regional cooperation and student participation. The text with the Dubrovnik reccomendation is available here (pdf file).
Meeting of the Language Experts Working Group
University of Alcalá - 19 and 20th of January
Meeting with EUA's Secretary General
Brussels - 13th of February
Campus Europae Promotional Day
University of Luxembourg - 20th of February
Campus Europae International Day
University of St Petersburg - 21 and 22nd of February
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