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Fun way to learn a language

4 March 2006, 16:14

The SMIT-AEGEE Language Project is an informal program where you can learn a language in a pleasant, flexible manner from a fellow student. The project was started by Dorien Wesseling of SMIT and Paul Hoogstraten of AEGEE in 2002.

The SMIT-AEGEE Language Project is an informal program where you can learn a language in a pleasant, flexible manner from a fellow student. The project was started by Dorien Wesseling of SMIT and Paul Hoogstraten of AEGEE in 2002.

The Language Project aims at integrating foreign students into Dutch society in order to provide them with a more meaningful stay in the Netherlands.

This is achieved by connecting them to Dutch as well as to other foreign students. The Language Project is sponsored by the European student association AEGEE-Enschede and the Foundation Student Mobility in Twente (SMIT).

The goal of the Language Project is to couple students with different native languages so that they can learn the basics of each other's language. Teaching each other his or her mother tongue is the driving force behind the idea of Language project. The partners are assigned by the coordinators of the project: Mees Beeker from AEGEE-Enschede and Suzanne Engelsman from SMIT.

Once the couple is formed, it is in the hands of the participants as to how they make appointments and learn each other's languages. It is advisable to meet at least once a week.

In addition, every month a general meeting for all the participating pairs is organized, where they can share their experiences and problems within the Language Project.

The Language Project is organized four times a year and each batch of the project lasts about three months. The last session, which had 16 duos, ended in January with a lunch and a movie night that were organized to bring all the participants together.

Co-coordinator Engelsman noted, `Language project has been very successful, some participants not only learned the basics of the other language but they also became close friends with their Dutch or foreign counterparts.'

Ennio Flores, a chemical engineering student from Brazil interning for Procede Twente BV which is located on the UT campus, and Renske Heiligers, a first-year Dutch student in business administration, participated in most recent session of the Language Project.

Both Flores and Heiligers enjoyed the Language Project and became familiar with each other's languages. Flores commented, `We met four or five times in total as it was difficult to combine each other's free time.

Therefore, we could only get familiar with the structure of the two languages.' `Language Project is a fun way to learn a foreign language.

I did not learn much about the Portuguese language as it was very short time, but I did get to know the Brazilian culture and music from Flores,' remarked Heiligers. Flores added with a smile, `Language project is a cheap way to learn a language and it also provides Dutch students an opportunity to meet foreign students'.

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