22nd – 19th September Sophie Stewart

As some of you may know this week is Inspiring Languages Week in the UK and we’re very pleased to have one of the co-ordinators curating for the week (with maybe a few guest appearances from the team).  Following on from @cristobaleandro’s discussions of his passion for languages and also what it means to be Chilean I’m really looking forward to reading what Sophie (and you) think about encouraging language learning and why it’s so important within the humanities.

Hello to all We The Humanities readers and followers from Routes into Languages!

I’d like to introduce myself as Sophie Stewart, Project Manager of the Routes into Languages North East consortium based at Newcastle University. I’m usually to be found @RoutesNE, supported by one of our Student Language Ambassadors. A linguist myself, I graduated with a degree in Arabic Studies before undertaking a graduate internship at the University of Manchester coordinating Peer Support activities in the Faculty of Life Sciences. Following a subsequent move to the North East, I was delighted to be able to return to my Humanities roots, joining the Routes into Languages team last September.

Established in response to the decline in the take-up of language courses from GCSE level onwards, Routes into Languages began work in 2006 as a consortium of universities working together with schools and colleges to enthuse and encourage people to study languages. It operates alongside two sister networks cpmprising the National Network for Interpreting and the National Network for Translation. Funded by HEFCE, the programme entered its second phase in 2013 and is currently set to continue until 2016. You can find out more about what we do by visiting our website.

Our work takes us and teams of Student Language Ambassadors into schools and brings pupils onto university campuses up and down the country, involving partnerships with a wide range of organisations from Third Year Abroad to the Association for Language Learning. Monday 22nd September marks the start of Inspiring Languages Week, an exciting new collaboration with Inspiring the Future – look out for more about this later in the week!

Alongside my colleagues across England and Wales, I am excited to be launching full steam ahead into another year of promoting foreign language learning to young people. We hope that you will be interested in learning about our work and in sharing your thoughts about your own language learning experiences and how we can all work together reverse the current decline to ensure that our young people are able to flourish in a world in which foreign language skills and intercultural awareness are increasingly vital.

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