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Student-Clip goes viral

The story of an intercultural friendship

Just posting a short video, a photo or a tweet and suddenly a star online. That is what happened to Kiran, student at the Chemnitz University of Technology, who posted together with his friend André a video about their language partnership on “Facebook”. The video already counts approx. 1,760 clicks, was shared 16 times, and delights with a very positive feedback in the comments section. But how exactly did this special intercultural friendship between Kiran and André emerge?

Shortly after Kiran came to Germany to study at Chemnitz University, he signed up on the internet platform mylanguageexchange.com. The website offers its users to get into contact with native speakers and thus to acquire a new language, for free.

The Indian-born Kiran stated all languages he is able to speak and hoped to not only meet new people but also to teach others and learn new languages himself. He never “expected someone from Germany to be interested in learning his native tongue Kannada”, says the Chemnitz student in the video. Kannada is primarily spoken in south India and is for approx. 40 million people their mother tongue. But to his surprise, it did not take long to find alongside numerous requests for the English language André’s request in his mailbox. He was interested in learning Kannada. In exchange he offered Kiran to teach him German. A short while after, both were in contact via WhatsApp, the direct message service, in a more private communication. The first meeting followed and from the initial language exchange emerged a deep friendship. “With the video I wanted to show an intercultural connection which is really important in our world nowadays”, Kiran explains. Prof. Olaf Kanoun, head of the Professorship of Electrical Measurements and Sensor Technology at the Chemnitz University, says: “It is a ‘Success Story’ for the positive integration of international students.” She also became aware of the video through Facebook and is delighted about the good teamwork of international and national students. “Our students can stay at home and the world is nevertheless open to them!”

André and Kiran do not want to stay at home. One day, André will travel to India and apply his acquired new language. And if he should be stuck, he still has Kiran. Only one click away.

Matthias Fejes

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