"Day of the Cultures" – Language Festival of a Summer Class (Germany)

A small baroque castle surrounded by woodland and meadows, once used by its owners as a hunting lodge, now provided accommodation for a group of young people from across the globe. They assembled here to tackle a new challenge together. In a language course (conducted within the framework of the initiative "Schools: Partners of the Future") they spent three weeks learning German. They learnt new things about Germany, its history and its culture, and more specifically about the peculiarities of its language.

But it wasn't only German things that they learnt about in these three weeks. This highly mixed group incorporated a very special asset: its multilingualism. The young people came from Poland and the Czech Republic, from Hungary and Lithuania, from Turkey and Egypt, from Morocco, Vietnam, England and France, from Belgium – and Germany. They learnt German together, but they also brought to Oppurg their own languages, their own culture. Their languages are not only a means of communication in their own countries, but also the carrier of their social identity, their culture.

Germany hosts the world – the world hosts Germany: this was the slogan under which the young people staged a "Day of the Cultures" in Oppurg. On the castle meadow the young people gave those they have made contact with as well as any other interested individuals from the district an insight into their world. The visitors became the hosts and the indigenous visitors gained access to the varied musical and culinary traditions. The colourful programme of games, songs and dances had been prepared by the young people during their time on the course. The guests were also spoilt with typical national delicacies.

The magnificent baroque building in beautiful Oppurg, located between Jena, Gera and Saalfeld, became the backdrop to a day of the cultures, a day of linguistic diversity, from which all were able to profit: the visitors and visited, the guests and the hosts. Multilingualism as an opportunity for international communication and exchange, to ask questions, and also a chance for languages and cultures to come closer together.

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