Over the course of the October half term 2019, the Department of Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting at Swansea University organised three days of A-Level workshops and language tasters for students in Y12-13. With funding awarded by the University Council of Modern Languages and the Swansea Academy of Inclusivity and Learner Success (SAILS), the aim of the workshops was to inspire those in attendance to continue with their language studies at tertiary level, but also to offer language-learning opportunities to students who may otherwise not have considered or been able to study languages post-GCSE.
In all, around 40 students attended the conference, travelling from as far afield as Fishguard, Llandrindod Wells and Birmingham and following a brief welcome by Dr Greg Herman and Mrs Tanya May, the first session introduced students to conference interpreting and computer-assisted translation. Thereafter students explored the historical evolution of both French and Spanish, enjoyed masterclasses on the set-texts studied at A-Level, and experienced taster sessions in both Italian and German. The workshops were further supported by Routes into Languages Cymru as well as the Educational Office of the Spanish Embassy whose representative, Mrs Carmen Santos Maldonado, delivered a highly engaging session on approaches to verbal and non-verbal communication and the significance of both in the context of an oral examination.
Feedback from those in attendance was overwhelmingly positive, and the connections made as part of the event will allow opportunities for further outreach and civic engagement in the years to come. The Department for Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting sincerely hope that Access to Languages will go on to become an annual fixture on the academic calendar.