Home // University // News // Slideshow // “We learn languages through our interactions.”

“We learn languages through our interactions.”

twitter linkedin facebook email this page
Published on Friday, 26 March 2021

The International Day of Multilingualism is celebrated on Saturday 27 March. Due to globalisation, multilingualism has become common practice in business, science and education. It is a characteristic of the University of Luxembourg’s to use multiple languages in its teaching and learning activities; multilingualism also reflects its values. “Unlike in other countries, most of our programmes are bilingual, sometimes even trilingual, especially at a bachelor level. Going forward, we want to make sure that students make the most of that opportunity and benefit from the advantages that multilingualism offers to their future career,” says Catherine Léglu, Vice-rector for Academic Affairs. In her interview she speaks about the opportunities that the multilingual environment of the University of Luxembourg offers to its students and employees.

Business, employment and education are increasingly global and multilingual, and citizens of the 21st century need a new range of skills and competences. What are the opportunities the University creates for our students and staff with regards to multilingualism – and their future careers? 

Multilingualism is one of the unique strengths of this University and it is also one of our challenges. Good language skills are a key element in the portfolio of anyone entering the job market in Luxembourg. They are also valuable for developing international connections in many sectors of work, life and study. We are therefore treating multilingualism as a fact of life, but also as an important life-skill, one that should be supported and developed. We will strengthen the development of language skills among students as well as among staff. These are important factors for successful learning, as most of our programmes (Bachelor and Master) are bilingual, and fluency in more than one of the University’s teaching languages also enables the instructor to communicate their passion for their subject. 

What measures has the University put in place to foster multilingualism?  

We will develop further the support provided for staff and students to improve the language skills that they already have, or that they wish to develop, both for everyday and academic purposes. This involves developing more resources as well as more incentives; we already offer ECTS for transversal skills, including language learning. We will ensure that more incentives are in place, to recognise the effort that people put into this learning activity. We are also currently reviewing the languages that we should use in our different types of communication and official documents across the University. It is also important to encourage the use of inclusive language, in order to ensure that nobody is left out. 

The University of Luxembourg has recently defined its new Multilingualism policy, how will implementing this policy be felt in the life at the University, among our students and staff? 

We aim for the University’s internal life to reflect the linguistic and cultural diversity of Luxembourg. We can all learn several languages every day on campus, and not only in the classroom or the laboratory. We learn through our interactions with posters, with conferences and with cultural events, as well as in informal exchanges in the Student Lounge, restaurants, parties, once they become accessible again, and the Luxembourg Learning Centre. Furthermore, we aim to connect languages with the broader experience of a Uni.lu student.  

All our Bachelor students are obliged to spend at least one semester in a University abroad, either in the Erasmus+ programme or outside Europe. Studying in an other country develops intercultural skills that are very important for personal and societal development; many of our students are international and they already value that experience. We will connect this important aspect of Uni.lu with the multilingual skills that can be acquired through mobility.  

Sadly, the pandemic has affected the precious personal experiences that come through travel and through in-person interactions. We think that the return to normal life will renew people’s awareness of how important in-person exchanges are to how we communicate. That is going to be an important incentive for communicating effectively, and doing so in more than one language.