THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
“Light Me Up! – Language Lessons for Abroad” has set the objective to accommodate 5 less widely used and taught European languages in the context of travelling abroad. In view of the growing travel and tourism sector in the past few years, it is important to take consideration of Europe’s multilingual character and support people in communication in foreign languages through promoting to them the benefits of learning languages. Special attention should be paid to the importance of the “smaller” European languages in order to preserve the linguistic diversity in Europe. In achieving this objective the emphasis should be placed on “language awareness” because when Europeans become aware of smaller countries and their languages they might take steps towards learning them.
Probably the most natural context for language promotion is the travel and tourism sector because people who have decided on going abroad already have the right motivation to invest even some limited time in learning the language of the visiting country. “Light Me Up!” is a project which aims to address exactly such needs. The developed language products were put in the hands of travellers who could use them to become familiar with the specifics of the target languages and take first steps towards developing basic communication skills in a natural language environment.
The project focuses on Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, Greek and Lithuanian and is directed at people of all age, interests, occupations and educational level.
The main aims and objectives of the project are:
- To raise awareness of 5 less widely used and taught European languages – Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, Greek, Lithuanian;
- To promote the advantages of language learning in general and to motivate the target group of pupils, students and adults who travel abroad in further learning the target languages in particular;
- To create a friendly language learning environment by developing a methodology and learning-oriented products for providing basic language skills;
- To create and upgrade basic skills in the target languages in the beneficiaries;
- To provide information about the language, history, culture and current status of the partner countries;
- To promote access to language learning resources;
Through the developed language products "Light Me Up!" facilitates the communication and comprehension between people when travelling abroad. As a result the beneficiaries can pick up a small vocabulary which they will be able to use and upgrade during their visit in the respective target country.
The project was organised within the following key activities:
- Conducting an initial survey at the Tourism Fairs to analyse the needs of the target groups;
- Developing the methodology based on the performed needs analysis;
- Developing the learning-oriented materials and products based on the methodology;
- Involving the target group in skill-developing activities and products – promotional language events of Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, Greek and Lithuanian at the Tourism Fairs in the partner countries; open language courses in the target languages with the formed groups of beneficiaries; language sets; website;
- Providing support to all interested beneficiaries for further learning the target languages;
- Establishing dissemination channels of travel agencies in order to reach the target groups through the language sets both during the lifetime of the project and after its end;
- Organising dissemination seminars in order to expand the dissemination channels of travel agencies and create new ones of interested organisations, educational institutions, schools and universities, etc.;
- Conducting a final survey at the partner travel agencies to measure the response on the language sets once put into practice;
The smooth performance of the above-mentioned activities was based on the distribution of tasks between the partners in accordance with their experience and competence. This ensured the transparency of the work within the consortium as well as the quality of the project activities.
Some of the major achievements of "Light Me Up!" include:
- Language sets were developed in 20 bilingual versions (BG-NL, LT-CZ, GR-BG, etc.)
- 20 language events were organised at 5 Tourism Fairs in the partner countries.
- About 2,600 people were directly involved in the language games and activities.
- A network of 25 travel agencies was established in the 5 promoting countries.
- A Slovak company expressed interest in producing 100,000 copies of the sets in Slovak-English and Slovak-German in order to distribute them during the World Ice Hockey Championship 2011
- 8 open language courses were organised and about 60 people went through non-traditional lessons in the target languages.
- The Bulgarian national air carrier Bulgaria Air expressed interest to participate in the project activities. Language sets were distributed at airplanes of Bulgaria Air flying to Holland and Cyprus. The carrier also provided 2 flight tickets as a prize for the project beneficiaries.
- A language demonstration in Bulgarian was requested and performed at the US Embassy in Bulgaria in front of 20 diplomats studying Bulgarian.
- As a result of the success of the demonstration, the Language Office at the Embassy requested the adaptation of 4 “Light Me Up!” products into Bulgarian-English which to be used as helpful materials during the course of study of the diplomats.
- Over 10 sponsors and social partners supported the project activities.
- A regular course of Bulgarian was organised at the Volksuniversiteit Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The course was designed in two levels and continued existing also after the project end.
The coordinator of the project, KU TU Ltd., decided to apply for the European Language Label in order to ensure further dissemination and sustainability of the achieved results after the project ended.
After receiving the European Language Label, "Light Me Up!" was numerously recognised as a good practice for non-traditional language promotion. The project was included in a compendium of best practices in the area of language learning from all over Europe.
Some of the "Light Me Up!" outcomes continue to be used up to now.
"Light Me Up!" joined other labelled initiatives within the network NELLIP, having the opportunity for creating synergies with other projects and new sustainable partnerships.
The project was chosen as a best practice in Bulgaria and nominated from Bulgaria to compete with the best practices from the other countries on European level. The results will be announced on a high-level conference in Cyprus in September 2012, where "Light Me Up!" will be also represented.
It is recommended to other promoters of language project and initiatives to get familiar with the award criteria for the Label, incorporate them in the implementation of their projects and apply for a European Label in their countries. Receiving the award opens new paths for continuation of the projects and sustainability of their results.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
"Light Me Up!" is in consistency with the current policies in the field of language learning because it is directed towards promoting new approaches to language teaching and learning, promotion of multilingualism as well as promotion of the development of teaching material for the learning of less widely spoken languages.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
Bulgarian NA: Our selection is based on the solid foundation for sustainability of the results which the project has laid during its lifetime.
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