Encouraging students to retain and develop their heritage language skills is an important goal for Languages Connect. This summer we held two heritage language camps – one for Polish in Cork and one for Romanian in Dublin. Our annual summer camps give students an opportunity to connect with their heritage, boost their language skills and learn more about where their parents and/or grandparents grew up. Some students were born in Poland, Moldova or Romania, some were born in Ireland.
While we had hoped to have more languages and more camps this year, due to uncertainty around Covid, just two camps went ahead in August 2020. Last year there was a Romanian camp in Dublin, a Polish camp in Tipperary and a Romanian camp in Cork. Some of the students who attended the Romanian camp in 2019, signed up again this year – which is always a good sign! Both camps were run with full social distancing and within guidelines. They covered language, artists, history, geography, food and traditions. There were lots of fun outdoor games and quizzes to reconnect the students with either the Polish or Romanian language and culture. They watched films and went on outings together. Guest speakers taught them cooking, crafts and music and a local Polish restaurant even delivered a Polish feast to the camp in Cork.
The camp gives the student lots of opportunity to:
> Improve their heritage language skills
> Build confidence speaking to others outside their family in the heritage language
> Build awareness of doing Romanian/Polish for their Leaving Cert
> Learn more about their traditions, crafts, history, geography, food
> Connect with new people and make friends within their heritage language community
> Have fun and learn something at the same time
Anka Borzasi is a Romanian language teacher who ran the Romanian summer camp in Dublin both this year and last. Tomasz Trela is a Polish language teacher, and this was his first year of running a Polish summer camp in Cork. They both had to be very flexible in their approach this year – changing dates, venues and group sizes in the weeks before the camps, but both prevailed and organised great camps that the students enjoyed immensely.
We are very grateful to our two wonderful coordinators who ran the camps and the 34 students who made all their efforts worthwhile. Hopefully in 2021, there will be an opportunity for more heritage language fun with more languages in many more locations.
Our 3 Top Tips for retaining your heritage language in 2020
Check out the Languages Connect Leaving Cert Saturday Classes in Chinese, Lithuanian, Romanian, Portuguese and more. These are fully funded by the Department of Education and are available to students who don’t have these language classes available in their school
> Check out the Leaving Cert Online Essay Writing Support for Portuguese, Lithuanian and Polish
> Check out the Languages Connect Youtube, Facebook and Instagram channels for lots of fun tips, videos and articles about all the social, cultural and career benefits of foreign language skills in Ireland today