AEGEE-Voronezh turned this autumn’s European Day of Languages (EDL) into a three-day event – with lectures, food, dances and lots of insights into different cultures. “Since November 2009 we organise the EDL annually in spring and autumn”, says Ekaterina Zolotareva, Secretary of AEGEE-Voronezh. This time, from 29th of November till 1st of December, more than 50 people got insight into English, French, German, Estonian and Hungarian. Ekaterina: “I really loved all the lectures.”

Ekaterina Voronezh
Ekaterina Zolotareva, AEGEE-Voronezh

Golden Times: How was your event? You had a lot of languages…
Ekaterina Zolotareva: Our event was really awesome!  And it lasted 3 days! So quite a lot of organizational work!

Golden Times: Why did your antenna decide to participate in the project. Did you do that before?
Ekaterina: Though AEGEE-Voronezh is quite young, we are going to turn five in February, it has a good tradition of organizing EDL twice a year. So since November 2009 we have it annually in spring and autumn. That’s why we couldn’t but make it happen again this time!

Golden Times: Which languages did you teach?
Ekaterina: We had five different languages: English, French, German, Estonian and Hungarian. So we had five people from different parts of Europe taking part! They told us not only about their languages, but about their countries, cities, culture, traditional dishes as well and even tried to break the stereotypes!

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English was the most popular language at the EDL in Voronezh

Golden Times: You also had English. Shouldn’t that be common knowledge?
Ekaterina: Surprisingly, but no! Actually, the presentation about the English language attracted more people than any other! Many people came just because they know English and wanted to talk to a native speaker or just to refresh their memory. What is more, that was really great to find out some facts about the old English. So there was nothing common at all!

Golden Times: You had a lot of lecturers… Where did you find them?
Ekaterina: All the presenters were foreigners. Some of them are studying here and some of them are working in Voronezh. It’s not easy to find someone who is not local here: for example, we don’t have many exchange students in general. We always have to ask all our friends whether they know someone new in the city. This time one of our members just bumped into one guy literally in the street! So that’s how it all works!

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Altogether 50 people came to the event

Golden Times: Which lecture did you find most entertaining or surprising?
Ekaterina: As for me, I really loved all the lectures! They were all very special and educational, after each of them I understood that even though I might have been in those countries, I’ve never known about some things so it made me want to return. And I even tried to dance a national dance at one of them!  The most surprising and moving part was that even though we asked the presenters to talk about the language, some of them even brought national food. So they did a great job not only to promote their language but a traditional cuisine too!

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The participants could also learn dances

Golden Times: How many participants were there? How did they like it?
Ekaterina: As for the participants, all together we managed to gather more than 50 people during these three days. According to their responses, they enjoyed it a lot! First of all, it was a nice opportunity for them to attend a social event which attracted people with the same interests in languages and different cultures. Secondly, the fact that the native speakers were there made people who wanted to practice the language come and do so. Moreover, the informal and relaxed atmosphere with tea and coffee always attracts more people than the classroom so it is an important point here. And of course many people attended the event because they had already been to it before, so they were interested in it again which shows us that we should continue doing it in the future!

Golden Times: Did they say they want to start learning a language now?
Ekaterina: Surprisingly again, but people said that they wanted to learn English better! Especially those who have already graduated and don’t use English in the everyday life claimed that they felt they anyway need it.  For the occasions like the EDL, for example…

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The organisers were very happy about the success of the event

Golden Times: Were you satisfied with the event?
Ekaterina: The whole AEGEE-Voronezh team is more than satisfied with the EDL event! Sometimes we were worrying that people would not come, because it was raining and snowing and no one was willing to go anywhere but all our concerns disappeared each time we saw people filling the presentation rooms. It’s a real happiness to motivate people learn and discover more, share the experiences and explore different cultures. We advise other AEGEE antennae to do such events as it doesn’t only bring the members together and make people learn what AEGEE and EDL is, but gives an opportunity for those who don’t travel feel the Europe in their own cities and may be encourage them to discover all the hidden treasures of each language!