Engaging start sets high expectations

The article ‘Symposium successful kick-off new academic year’ on our website reported on two guest speakers that helped us to open the academic year. The presentations given by Hugo Keizer and Hendrik van der Pol were followed by a short Q&A session, in which the audience followed up on what had been discussed with questions. When after the last Q&A everyone was socialising with a drink, I exchanged a few thoughts with two fresh BA students; Graham and Frank.

Both enjoyed this engaging start of the programme. As international students, coming from two very diverse areas, Alaska and Argentina respectively, they can relate to issues of minority cultures and multilingualism in their individual way. Graham mentioned that Alaska knows a large number of small traveling populations, which augments his interest in learning more about minority cultures. He is looking forward to the first week of class; to the course on minority languages in particular.

Like Graham, Frank was drawn towards Groningen because of the unique combination of multilingualism and minority cultures and issues the BA programme offers. The good position of the RUG as a research university contributed to his choice for this programme. Being half Dutch and speaking English, Spanish, and Dutch at home, he is a true multilingual. As Buenos Aires is not around the corner, Frank first completed the web-class to really make sure he was making the right decision. His interest in history and linguistics makes him impatient to start the different courses. Even though there is still plenty of time to decide, he’s already thinking about which minor course he wants to take. Perhaps applied linguistics, or why not study a fourth language and embark on the Frisian Track?