If you go to an AEGEE event, you will hear all kind of languages around. AEGEE celebrates the diversity of European languages and multilingualism with its second oldest ongoing project: the European Day of Languages (EDL) exists since 2001. The concept is simple: many antennae organize local events at the same time, in which experts present or organise activities around different languages. This is a great chance for your local to organize an event in the framework of an international project with minimum effort. This year the EDL it will take place on the 14th of November. The date is too soon for your antenna? It’s also possible to organize it a bit later. The Language Interest Group (LIG), which coordinates the EDL, explains how it works.

Golden Times: When will the EDL take place this year?
LIG: This year the EDL takes place on the 14th of November.

GT: Why did you pick that date?
LIG: Actually, the official date to celebrate the European Day of Languages is set up by the Council of Europe for the 26th of September. However, during that month many locals within our network are often occupied with recruitment of new members and promotion within the area of their own local. Besides, some of the locals start being active in October because of the start of the new academic year. Therefore we find it more convenient to celebrate the EDL in November and give everyone a little more time to prepare their activities for the EDL.

GT: What if an antenna cannot organize it on that day?
LIG: The local organizers are not obliged to organize any activities on the exact same date as the EDL, but if they want it to be an actual EDL activity, they should take into account that it has to be more or less around that time. The latest EDL activities should take place up to three weeks after the 14th of November.

GT: Why can it be interesting for an antenna to organize an EDL related event?
LIG: First of all, it’s a great opportunity to raise the visibility of a local and strengthen the inner AEGEE spirit of the members. Secondly, organizing an EDL-related event can be a fun way for teambuilding and a better understanding of the modern multilingual idealism in Europe.

GT: What kind of activities can people organize? Can you give practices from last year?
LIG: The kind of the activity depends on the creativity and boldness of the organizers. Nevertheless, the most important part is the focus on the topic of languages. The activity should motivate others to learn foreign languages and make them aware of the benefits that come along with it. In order to help the locals, LIG has developed guidelines with basic ideas for the EDL activities. They are helpful in case if the organizers need more idea’s or want to organize the EDL for the first time and don’t know how to do it. Past activities such as linguistic karaoke or language speed dating are very simple to start with. It can be also a short debate where the members discuss the importance of multilingualism in Europe.

GT: Can you tell more about the mentioned guidelines?
LIG: The guidelines are published on our EDL Facebook page. Except from the guidelines we have also our “EDL Secret agents handbook of language challenges”. It’s a short illustration of how you can approach EDL in a fun way. The handbook is written from the perspective of a secret agent who has to face different challenges in order to complete his mission.

European Day of Languages in Grodno

GT: How does it feel to manage AEGEE’s second oldest ongoing  project?
LIG: It’s a great feeling. This year we have got new active LIG members who got engaged in the EDL and brought lots of positive energy into the project. Some of the personal experiences of our core team members:
Iñigo Sesar from Aegee-Bilbao: “I have been in the EDL coordination team already for three years and I feel sad and concerned because the impact of this project has been decreasing over the past few years, while some far-right parties that act against the principles of this project have been gaining popularity in Europe. The EDL project in AEGEE has had its ups and downs since 2001, but we were only two people coordinating it last year and it almost died this year. However, thanks to the support of the CD and the HRC, a few new members joined the coordination team and I hope that we will make a bigger impact this year.”
Giorgos Giakoumatos from AEGEE-Athina: “We have worked very active to get to bring the EDL near to every local and we should be proud of representing the team this year. In ELD Coordination team to smile and love languages is the most important. Our target is to promote as we can this wonderful event and we are very happy to help reach this goal of multilingualism in the future.”

GT: Multilingualism has many advantages. How does that work actually?
LIG: There are a few reasons. First of all, you will be able to get a better understanding of the local history and culture of the people speaking that language. This can also result in a better communication with the locals while traveling. Secondly, a better understanding of the local language can help you broaden your mind and acquire bigger self-confidence when it comes to foreign environments.

Diploma for EDL participants in Kyiv

GT: Language skills also  offer better chances on the job market. Can you elaborate on that?
LIG: The more fluent you are with foreign languages the more chances you get to find a job outside of your country. Some jobs can require speaking two or more foreign languages. In this sense, it can be very practical and useful for your future. You will be holding a strong asset on the job market.

GT: What is the effect of learning languages on health?
LIG: It is well known that people with multilingualism disorder – a disease where you can’t stop learning foreign languages – can improve the functioning of their brain and have less chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease. The more foreign skills you’ll acquire now, the longer and healthier your life will be.

GT: How will you collect and publish the results of this year’s EDL?
LIG: We will collect all of the results via Facebook and our email lig.aegee@gmail.com, then create infographics and disseminate the results online through AEGEE means. All the results will also be included in the Activity Report. We also plan to write an article about the EDL for the Key to Europe or AEGEEan. Therefore we kindly ask all of the participating locals to send us the pictures and videos of your activities. So we can publish everything together as a reminder of EDL 2019.

EDL event in Voronezh

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