Friday 30. August 2013

Classroom Ísafjörður

[mynd 1 h]Last weekend the Icelandic Courses at the University Centre came to an end when the last group of students was bid farewell at a graduation ceremony held at the restaurant Við Pollinn in Ísafjörður on Saturday August 24. On Friday evening a larger group of student were also seen off with certificates of their participation on the Three-Week Course in Icelandic for Exchange students held at Hotel Núpur where 85 Erasmus and Nordplus students have lived and studied for the past three weeks.

As we have reported earlier this year sets a record when it comes to the number of students that have participated in the various Icelandic Courses offered at the UW in 2013, with a total number of 171 foreign students studying Icelandic at the UW this year. The past few years the UW has specialized in organizing summer courses in Icelandic for foreigners and is in a unique position in Iceland when it comes to such courses. We hope to see an even further increase in the coming years when it comes to the Icelandic Courses.

[mynd 2 h]This unique position of UW is also evident when it comes to the teaching methods of the courses. These teaching methods are for example realized in something that might be called “Classroom Ísafjörður”. The other day UW was asked to send the badge "Ég tala bara íslensku" (“I only speak Icelandic) for presenting this excellent idea on a conference abroad. Students were these badges during courses such as Shopping Rally and other language exercises that include interaction in daily life in Ísafjörður. With this the town of Ísafjörður becomes one huge classroom and with more than 170 participants in this year's summer schools, it is good to have the classroom large. People in town who take the time to communicate with the students in plain and slowly spoken Icelandic therefore become teachers on the course.

The University Centre asked Karitas Kvaran at University of Iceland's Office of International Relations, who will attend the above mentioned conference, to emphasize that this would not work if it was not for the willingness of people in town to take on the role of becoming teachers. The people of Ísafjörður have, by the way, gotten the reputation to be more willing to reply students in Icelandic and take their time to understand them, than people in Reykjavík, who seem to switch to English at first opportunity. UW is very grateful to people in Ísafjörður that have taken on this role of assistant-teachers year after year in August, when most of the summer schools take place.

In the next few weeks the staff members of UW will plan and organize the teaching for next year. We are looking forward to offering even more opportunities and variations of teaching next year. The high demand for Icelandic summer courses seems to be increasing and therefore we hope that this part of UW operations will grow even more in the coming future.