There were all together 32 participants from 9 different European countries: Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia. Therefore it was a very multicolored/ mixed and interesting company with very different cultural background and environment. Despite that, the participants of the event formed one harmonic and friendly language family.
The week started in the premises of the Estonian Business School with icebreaking and organizers introduction. All the participants got the possibility to give an overview of themselves, their work and organization. At the end of the day the lecturer of the Tallinn University – Mr Robin Hazelhurst presented his topic “Cultural Differences” where he talked mostly about the features of learning and using the foreign languages. Mr Hazelhurst is from United Kingdom and at the moment living in Estonia. His opinion that while learning and using other foreign languages the identity of a person can be changed/ altered, brought a passionate discussion. The first day ended with a long walk and a dinner in the Old town of Tallinn. As the dinner was organized so that all participants had to change their seat after every course, the participants got to know each-other better.
The second day of the week was organized at the modern Tallinn University of Technology where the participants had the chance to see the modern library of the university. The representatives of the Baltic national Agencies gave an overview of the EILC history in their country. The most positive feedback got the Estonian language lesson given actively by the lecturer of the TUT – Ms Mall Kulasalu. All the participants were into learning the language and took part very eagerly. As a result, we could hear during the week very often such kind of courtesy expressions like “aitäh” (thank you!) and “palun” (please!) not only from our Estonian colleagues. Positively emotional were the experiences shared by the students who took part at the summer EILC in TUT and the TUT students who took part at the EILC in other European countries. The day was ended by the presentation about the Language Robot from Estonian Academy of Security Sciences – Mr Marek Link. The robot is a best practice example that could be followed also by the other European countries.
The third and fourth day of the Erasmus International Language Week were carried through at the Estonian capital of the summer – Pärnu. Changing the setting helped in giving a better overview of Estonian life and surroundings. In Pärnu the participants had good possibilities to move around and to introduce their practical tips – including the active icebreaking games, - activities that they use during the EILC. The language teachers and organisers of courses were given the chance to discuss their more specific problems among groups. The participants had brought with them national snacks and drinks which gave the opportunity more comfortably to watch the film about Estonian history “Singing Revolution”.
On the last day of the week the representative from European Commission - Klara Engels-Perenyi gave an overview of the EILC history in Europe and introduced the possible changes while the next programme period (2014 – 2020). As we have heard from the previous discussions the EILC won´t be a part of the new programme phase, at least not on the same way as so far. One of the possibilities is that the HEI-s will be given the chance to continue with organizing the language and cultural courses under the Organisation of Mobility grant. The HEI-s don´t think it is the best way. The details of the new programme are not so clear and final yet, therefore the participants of the EILW used the chance to implement on how important would be to carry out such kind of courses in the future as well. The main question was – why to end such kind of activity that has been so successful all over the Europe, not only by the opinion of the member states and students but also by the opinion of the European Commission.
In conclusion the Erasmus Intensive language Week was very successful. The feedback given by the participants (both written and also from face—to-face) was only positive or very positive. The organisers felt also very good emotions at the end of the week and were glad the participants of the week were like a big happy and friendly international family!
Our great thanks to all the participants who made this kind of event to be possible!