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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

School pupils have fun at the Mardi Gras Languages Festival!

Yorkshire and the Humber

Tuesday 21st February 2012– Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University

Now in its second year and in a joint venture with the University of Leeds Language Centre, Leeds Metropolitan University helped to host a Languages Festival to celebrate Mardi Gras, literally “fat Tuesday” in French, more commonly known as Shrove Tuesday in the UK and long associated with celebrations and partying in Catholic countries in Europe and further afield. 

As part of the Speak to the Future campaign and the Routes into Languages project over 50 sixth form pupils from schools around Yorkshire were given the opportunity to find out more about the benefits of language learning, to learn about career options, explore the cultures and customs behind the languages and meet current students from the two universities.

After a welcome from the heads of the respective language departments, Dominic Luddy spoke to the pupils about the launch of the “Speak to the Future” Campaign on Facebook. There followed a careers talk, where pupils could find out about the opportunities in the workplace for language speakers and to round off the day final year students from both universities presented their experiences and the many advantages of spending a year abroad.

During the day pupils took part in “A” level conversation classes in French, German or Spanish and had the opportunity to try out language taster sessions in Arabic, Italian, Japanese, Linguistics, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Thai. Pupils also had the opportunity to visit stands, which gave them information about studying languages at University and Abroad, the National Network for Interpreting were also present and students could try out activities such as calligraphy and origami.

The day was deemed a great success and we hope to repeat it again next year:

‘The event was great, really insightful.  I loved the language taster sessions’

‘This day has helped me confirm that I wish to study German at university.  It also encouraged me to pick up new languages such as Japanese’

‘It has been a really interesting day and I’ve liked learning less common languages’