New semester language courses start online

On 2 November, the semester language courses taught by the Volkshochschule Hamburg began at HAW Hamburg. Thirty-three courses in eight languages are being offered for beginners and more advanced students. Alongside German as a foreign language and English, courses are being held in Chinese, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish and now Japanese. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the courses are currently being held online via Zoom.

Kikuko Kato in a traditional kimono.

Kikuko Kato, Japanese general consul, in a traditional kimono.

More than 100 students registered for the beginners' course in Japanese, which led the International Office to open up a second course. Since 4 November, over 40 students have been practicing the hiragana, katakana and kanji syllabic characters and learning to introduce themselves, greet others, and say goodbye in Japanese. They are also learning how to make new acquaintances, express themselves in everyday situations, and tell stories about their families. To mark the start of the two courses, Japan's general consul in Hamburg, Kikuko Kato, welcomed the students via Zoom on 4 November and expressed how pleased she was with their interest in her home country: 'I think it's not just an opportunity to gain insights into an exceptional language, but also enables the exploration of new worlds and perspectives. You can further expand your newfound interest in my home country next year because 2021 will be the 160th anniversary of the friendship between Japan and Germany. We would like to celebrate this anniversary with all friends of Japan!'

The International Office has offered the semester language courses since summer semester 2018 as part of the Internationalisation at Home programme, which is part of the internationalisation strategy. The language courses enable students to acquire additional key skills during their studies. The free German courses, financed by the HAW Hamburg Excutive Board, contribute significantly to helping international students' settle in at the university and study successfully. Approximately 500 students take advantage of the language programme per semester, as do staff when there are free places. The Hamburg Ministry of Science, Research, Equality and Districts (BWFGB) has provided funding for specialised language courses, which means that English for Engineering and English for Business courses can be offered at no charge. The International Office has also obtained funding for Chinese courses from the Executive Board and is funding the two Japanese courses from its own budget.

HAW Hamburg's partner in offering the language courses is the Volkshochschule Hamburg, which has offered language courses at six Hamburg universities (including Universität Hamburg, Hafen City University and the Hamburg University of Technology) since as far back as 1995. Approximately 320 courses in 16 languages are taught per year, from level A1 to C2. The courses are run according to strict quality criteria at all of the universities.

Author: Martina Schulze, Head of the HAW Hamburg International Office


Laura Thiessen

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