On Tuesday, 9 February 2010 Cardiff City Hall was taken over by 450 of South Wales’ young linguists. Wales, Europe & the World was the event that attracted the 14-19 year olds to the city centre to learn all about opportunities available to young language learners in Wales across Europe and the wider world.
The day was opened by Cardiff Council Leader, Rodney Berman. He spoke of the importance of languages for young people today and how these skills will most certainly help them in the future. This message was reinforced by Roger Carter of HEFCW who was present to officially launch the Routes into Languages Cymru project. He said “you will find that the study of languages will open other doors for you, not just those leading to jobs. They can be your passports to a wider world, with all that exposure to foreign cultures and a sense of world citizenship offers.” He then prompted the teenagers to make the most of these opportunities, “Have fun, enjoy the day, and do something about it when you leave today!!”
The Routes into Languages Cymru and CILT Cymru teams worked together with partners such as Cardiff Council and the European Commission to organise this day packed full of activities. Pupils had the chance to learn a bit of Mandarin Chinese, practise their French and German and hear stories about studying or working abroad with Erasmus and Leonardo. Some even released their Latin spirits with a session of salsa dancing. Other sessions included Tai Chi, Human Rights, Volunteering in Europe and Employability Skills. The event even welcomed a representative from the European Commission who had flown over from Brussels to speak about their work during this year 2010: European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.
During the lunch break, pupils were encouraged to look around the exhibition where representatives from 18 organisations showcased how languages are important to them. Local businesses such as Schools into Europe and EADS showed how languages are essential for their businesses while Colleges and Universities gave details of the many ways of studying languages after leaving school.
The day proved to be a huge success for all involved and received positive feedback from pupils, teachers and exhibition holders. Wales, Europe & the World was a fantastic way to launch Routes into Languages Cymru. We will be running many more exciting and informative activities. We offer careers talks and visits from Student Language Ambassadors. We attend Careers Fairs and will be present all week at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Ceredigion. Keep an eye on our website for events in your area.