With six different languages within the seven universities of the Circle U. alliance, multilingualism undoubtedly will come with challenges. However, the challenges will bring rich and engaging new prospects across our European universities and within our communities. Mapping results are expected in a few weeks.
We wish to see differences in cultures, languages, and need for translations as sources of personal and professional enrichment, obliging each one of us to look at the world (and our project) through the eyes of the others. Multilingualism is high on the agenda in the EU, and now there is ongoing work in Circle U. on mapping the potential obstacles and opportunities such as language courses for students, initiatives for faculty and staff, the number of languages and structures involved. This work is lead by Dr Ana Marie Sousa Aguiar de Medeiros at King's College London.
Mapping for solutions
The current work being implemented consists in producing a survey of 30 questions to collect data on multilingualism from academics and administrative staff. The survey looks at language teaching opportunities for students, but also at linguistic diversity on campuses, the international scope of each university, and the place of languages in the overall university ecosystem. The first map will help us identify challenges, both specific and common to each partner. There will be one set of answers from each university.
The data will be used to work on possible levers for action and come up with solutions to overcome the challenges, that is, solutions that only the alliance can provide. The first outcomes of the mapping are expected to be released in May or early June and shared with the universities.
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