Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This material reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

Also available in:


Case Studies

Homepage > Case Studies

Case Studies

back to the list

basic information

Title of the Project
Bolsa de idiomas
Brief description
This is a project developed and coordinated by the Department of Youth Services of the municipal government of Cartagena in Murcia and implemented by the Youth Centre Espacio Joven. The project developed a language interchange program that matches language learners with native speakers of a variety of languages. The program also advises language learners on opportunities for language learning in other EU countries. The success of the project was demonstrated by the satisfaction of the users and its implementation by other municipal governments in Murcia.
Target Language
Bulgarian, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian
School Education
Further Information



Mastering other languages, additional to our mother tongue, is a key valued factor in the process of work selection , it is necessary for travelling, to have business relations with other countries and besides, it is an aspect to take into consideration in the training process of any person.
Likewise, learning a language has always been a difficult task, demanding effort and dedication. Lots of teenagers and adults do not find the time to go to academies, institutions, or specialized places which are trying to adapt to users’ needs. In spite of these efforts and if we add to this assumption that a language should be practice regularly: practicing with other people to extend their vocabulary, improving their accent, learning a culture, etc… those efforts are not enough.


The main objectives are:
-Facilitating communication between young people of different linguistic cultures.
-Creating and promoting a space for young people for the realization of cultural activities (a cinema with films in original version, forums, multilingual debates, etc…)
-Fostering international mobility among the young community and help them to arrange their own travels.
-Informing and advising teenagers of the different available resources for travelling, mainly around Europe.
-Enhancing motivation and offering young disadvantaged people learning and working opportunities.


“The Bolsa de Idiomas” is a project of intercultural education fostering the meeting of young people from different countries through linguistic exchanges and cultural activities.
“Bolsa de Idiomas” has been created and managed by the local entity Espacio Joven of the Youth Department of Cartagena. In this way, the public administration promotes language learning among the population.

From our organization we facilitate meeting spaces in the collaborative entities and cafeterias of the programme, as well as activities implementation organized from the BI (expositions, reading clubs, international karaokes…)
The main working element is a database formed by different people of different nationalities interested in practicing the language they are learning and teach the language they master. From El Espacio Joven it is coordinated the linguistic exchanges via email as well as it promotes the participation in different intercultural activities. There exists a continuous contact with users to involve them in the syllabus and therefore increasing their motivation.
Another key element of “La Bolsa de Idiomas” is the collaboration of European Volunteers from the Youth Programme in Action. These boys and girls are in Cartagena conducting their projects and part of it implies the participation, both in exchanges and activities of BI. The assistance is motivating to Spanish users of “La Bolsa” since they have the opportunity to meet young people from other countries living an experience as important as SVE.
When the course finishes the organization sends to all users an assessment seeking participants’ feedback about their experience in BI. It is also requested some information about the number of times they have carried out linguistic exchanges and their point of view about the utility of them. With the surveys’ results and the autoevaluation carried out by the organization it is taken into account the improvements happened in the programme in the last years.


“La Bolsa de Idiomas” of El Espacio Joven has been a source of inspiration for other local entities that, taking this format, have created their own linguistic exchanges programme.
The work done by El Espacio Joven for the creation of Bolsa de Idiomas is easily transferable for any entity interested in promoting language learning among young people. People participating in “La Bolsa de Idiomas” has had the opportunity of meeting lot of people from other cultures, practicing a new language, and create friendship links that grows with the appearance of a new member.
Lot of people repeat the course reassuring a core of faithful participants, they encourage other friends to join to “La Bolsa de Idiomas”. These people contribute to create a confident and partnership environment facilitating the integration of new member.

Why the European Language Label?

La Bolsa de Idiomas is a project that was received very well among the young community of Cartagena. From the very beginning it was proposed as an informal programme where the figures of teachers, classrooms, textbooks, and pedagogies were not included, and so providing quietness and confidence among our participants. Users of BI said that they felt uncomfortable and even feeling ashamed when they had to speak orally in a different language. For these reasons, it was highlighted the INFORMAL nature of this experience. However, we also want to awaken confidence, professionalism, and dedication because of the elaborated work carried out. For this reason, we decided to participate in The European Language Label in 2008, because the projects’ objectives represent the objectives stated in the European Language Label.
El Espacio Joven’s techinicians defined the project clearly and later presented the necessary documents for the 2008 call.
It was great when we were awarded the Language Label both for the acknowledgement and also for the possibility offered by the organization to meet and disseminate European programmes offering us financing if it was developed appropriately.

Activities following the award of the European Language Label

A dissemination campaign was carried out in order to advertise it. It was published a press release in the web as well as in local newspapers. Besides, continuous mails were sent to La Bolsa de Idiomas’s users.
The money received from the award allowed to contract a scholarship student aiming at improving the programme operation.

Assessment of the Impact of the European Language Label

The benefits of La Bolsa de Idiomas after receiving the prize was, as mentioned before, contracting a scholarship student to work exclusively on that programme. This let BI to extend both in the number of users and the concept of the programme also improved. Apart from linguistic exchanges that were developed we went furthest with “+BI”, a programme full of activities that promotes participants’ motivation and also broaden new possibilities to practice a language, which is the main aim of Bolsa de Idiomas.

Recommendations for future applicants for the ELL

The success of this Project ‘Bolsa de Idiomas’ lies in the project team who tries to provide services to Cartagena’s citizens and to make their lives easier. This will be our recommendation for anyone who wants to manage a project. Taking into consideration Cartagena population, la Bolsa de Idiomas works with small groups, but these people are the most important point for the technical team and they are the focus of efforts made.


Consistency with European Policies in the field of Language Learning

EU language policies aim to protect linguistic diversity and promote knowledge of languages for reasons of cultural identity and social integration, but also because multilingual citizens are better placed to take advantage of the educational, professional and economic opportunities created by an integrated Europe.

back to the list

Comments on this Case Studies

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2014.02.14

Posted by Jose e Iolanda (Spain)

Message: Bravo! This kind of projects seems to boost and foster human relationships, improvements of foreign languages, intercultural approaches... and all these things out of classes (giving real autonomy to the learner).
We also liked the European perspective.

Date: 2014.02.14

Posted by Ascensión and Helene (spain)

Message: We think it is a successful project that fulfills the requirements of the NELLIP checklist, but we miss the expoloitation and dissemination, since it can be easily implemented in other institutions of the area.

In fact the project is sustainable since it is being used by other people and is still ongoing in Cartagena and collaborate with other state-run institutions.

Date: 2014.01.31

Posted by Fallani Anna (Italy)

Message: In my school we organize a similar project that is based on a volutary work of teachers. We invite the students from the American university to come to the school once every two weeks and we organize a meeting with our students where they have conversations in small groups first in Italian and then in English. We have noticed a real increase in the motivation of our students who are involved in this initiative that I think is very similar to the one here described.

21 December 2014

Audio- video presentation of the NELLIP project

An audio- video presentation of the NELLIP project has been created and made available in the Information section of the NELLIP portal. To access the presentation please click here: