Creative Multilingualism Day serves up taste of language learning

1 November 2018

A pupil at Creative Multilingualism Day smiles at the camera

Exciting career options and a range of personal benefits were showcased this October when school pupils from across Wales attended an event in aid of the Cardiff-Oxford Creative Multilingualism Day.

The event, which was organised as a collaboration between Cardiff and Oxford Universities, Jesus College, Oxford, Routes into Languages Cymru, Rhwydwaith Seren Network and the Creative Multilingualism project, took place at the School of Modern Languages on 13 October and aimed to highlight the benefits of language learning and inspire young people to consider modern languages at A-level and university.

StatsWales figures show that the number of pupils in Wales sitting French, German and Spanish GCSEs has fallen from 7,867 in 2014 to 5,626 in 2017, while A-levels for the same subjects has seen a drop from 541 in 2014 to 390 in 2017.

Language experts also believe the problem is being compounded by negative attitudes towards other cultures magnified by Brexit.

To help combat this problem the organisers of the day aimed to give year 11 pupils a glimpse of what language learning could look like for them. 50 year 11 pupils attended the day, hailing from 18 schools across Wales and were given the opportunity to attend French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Creative Translation and Welsh taster sessions.

To illustrate how useful languages can be, two former language students, Emily Donnan and Callum Davies, shared their experiences of language learning with pupils and also talked about where languages have taken them in their careers.

Emily, who studied Law and French now works as a Human Rights and Advocacy Intern in Geneva for Plan International, a development and humanitarian organisation, whereas Callum, who studied French and Welsh, works for Cardiff City Football Club as a Player Liaison Officer.

Speaking at the event, Callum said, “Everything I’m doing now is thanks to Cardiff University and the language skills I learned on my degree course."

Project Coordinator for Routes into Languages Cymru, Meleri Jenkins, said, “The event was a resounding success and there was a definite buzz in the School of Modern Languages throughout the day.  The lively career panel with our inspirational guests gave food for thought to our young linguists, with many stating that the day had either confirmed or persuaded them to pursue a language at A Level. Demonstrating how studying a language could complement the study of another subject at university and the alternative paths available to students after graduating was another valuable outcome of the day. I’d like to thank everyone who supported and ensured that this day was a success.”

Cardiff University School of Modern Languages is one of the national coordinating institutions alongside Bangor University for Routes into Languages Cymru.