‘Opening Doors: Languages in Wales and the World’

Yesterday, our lecturers and language tutors did what they do best: inspiring young people to study languages.
We organised the ‘Opening Doors’ day of activities for school students in collaboration with CILT Cymru’s ‘Routes into Languages’ project. The project is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales to encourage the study of languages in Welsh schools, and so increase enrolment in language degrees.
‘Opening Doors’ was aimed at pupils from Wales aged around 14-17. Nearly 240 students from 12 schools registered. Some minibuses drove well over an hour to get here. They came to get a taste of learning new languages, to get reinforcement for languages they are learning at school – which fewer and fewer of them are – and to hear what studying languages at university is like, and why they should consider it.
Nigel T. Packer (Business for Business Internet Marketing Ltd) gave an inspiring opening talk about the importance of language skills in the globalised economy. Pupils and teachers then sampled a selection of taster classes, sessions on the year abroad (with some of our newly returned students), and on subjects such as new language technologies, interpreting, European cinema, German Popmusik, and global varieties of French. Careers advisors and teachers met up with our recruitment and admissions staff.
There was a neat closing of the circle over lunch. A teacher from Neath Port Talbot College described one of her colleagues as a ‘beacon of light for German in south west Wales’. This colleague, it turns out, has a BA in German from Swansea University. A timely reminder for us of our department’s crucial role in producing language teachers for Wales, to help the next generation of Welsh linguists on its way.  
 Many thanks to the organisers and all involved. The day was a great success.



 Globe (Nofrills, Flickr)

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2 Responses to ‘Opening Doors: Languages in Wales and the World’

  1. It was a pleasure to speak to the assembled students from so many colleges and 6th forms at Swansea University.

    I cannot emphasise the importance of having the skill to speak more than one language, for employability to just enjoying a holiday. Without the ability to communicate with others constrains an individual’s development and the opportunity for personal growth?

    We live in a global society that relies on communications through telecoms and the internet.

    There is over 6800 languages in common daily use. Of those the predominant languages used on the Internet are English, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, French, German, Arabic, Portuguese, Korean, and Italian. By restricting yourself to only speaking English you exclude over 60% of the worlds markets for trade, employment and leisure.

    Travelling to far off places to meet new people and develop new friendships is part of the rich tapestry of life. Being able to communicate with them in their tongue makes the experience so much more rewarding.

    I would like to wish all those who took part in the ‘Opening Doors’ event every success with their endeavours.

    Kind regards

    Nigel T Packer

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