Bundestag parliamentarian group visit Cardiff to meet German language learners
24 November 2015
The German British Parliamentarian Group of the Bundestag visited Cardiff University on 17 November 2015.
Three MPs met with 17 students and staff of the German department and the Languages for All programme of the School of Modern Languages. The Parliamentarians outlined their desire for the UK to stay in the EU and in particular to raise awareness of the importance of German language learning for Wales and the Welsh economy. The visit served a dual purpose, on the one hand for the MPs to learn about Welsh culture and for German students of Cardiff University to find out more about German culture and attitudes towards Britain by engaging in a dialogue with the MPs.
German staff explained their contribution to the Think German network, which promotes German; encouraging school pupils to study German and their co-operation with the Goethe Institute as an Examination centre for the internationally recognised Certificates in German as a foreign language. German is one of the most popular languages of the new LfA programme which the MPs were particularly pleased to hear.
Members of the German delegation pointed out that German is one of the most important languages of the EU; more than 50% of German exports go to the EU and the exciting job opportunities in Germany. They reiterated that students who speak the language are at an advantage, not only when it comes to getting a good job but also when it comes to integrating into a different society and culture.
A lively discussion followed, with students asking questions such as “How did language learning enrich your life” and “How do you encourage people to learn languages” among many others. Responses from the German delegation were pointing to their personal experiences of how foreign language learning has enriched their lives, an aspect that is not always obvious when you are young. Their message clearly focused on students’ perceptions of the importance of language learning. In response to a student question for advice as to where to go in Germany, for the first time in the discussion no clear preference was given – Berlin or Munich – and as no consensus was reached, we concluded that it was best to go to both!