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Virtual Language Café Started at Chemnitz University of Technology

International students at Chemnitz University of Technology can use their German language skills in a virtual space despite the corona crisis – Coaches needed

This week, the first participants in the Virtual Language Café at Chemnitz University of Technology met in virtual chat rooms. This project is aimed at international students at Chemnitz University of Technology who, despite the contact restrictions during the Corona crisis, want to use their German language skills in a relaxed atmosphere and seek contact with their fellow students.

This format was developed in a cooperation between the International Office at Chemnitz University of Technology and the Chair of German as a Foreign and Second Language (Prof. Dr. Winfried Thielmann). A total of 20 students were recruited to lead groups as so-called language coaches. "I am pleased about the great interest of our students in supporting their international fellow students - this also shows the importance that internationalism and interculturalism have on our campus,” said the head of the International Office, Dr. Benny Liebold. Six participants per group now meet once a week with their coaches in a virtual space and work on the German language.

Coretta Storz from the Professorship of German as a Foreign and Second Language is delighted that so many students are using the Language Café to get into conversation - whether as a mentor or as a language learner. She has conducted training with the coaches before the meetings."The Virtual Language Café is of course no substitute for language classes. However, in the training for the mentors I tried to show possibilities. The mentors can, on the one hand, stimulate the relaxed exchange, but they can also support the students in learning words by means of small games or assistance. Learning progress is also possible in this format.”

The feedback from the first meetings is positive. "It is very nice to see that the international students are so actively involved in virtual conversation and happy to use the somewhat different language project to keep their language skills from getting rusty and above all to maintain social contacts,” reports Nadja Heß. She is studying for a Master's degree in Management & Organisation Studies and is one of the coaches for the Virtual Language Café. Both language coaches and participants enjoy the format - the only thing everyone has to do is make their own coffee.

Note: Students and staff at Chemnitz University of Technology still have the chance to lead a group as a coach in the Virtual Language Café. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Benny Liebold, e-mail benny.liebold@iuz.tu-chemnitz.de

(Source: Communication of the International Office)

(Author: Mario Steinebach / Translation: Chelsea Burris)

Matthias Fejes

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