In order to write this post, I started from global to particular. First I made a list of the 11 courses I took during the 1st semester at the University of Luxembourg. Afterwards, I thought about the languages used for teaching and communicating: English, French, and German.
I was a little bit shocked to find out that, having started a Master in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural contexts; we (students and professors) used mainly English in six of those 11 subjects: Introduction to discourse analysis (J. W.), Promoting childhood bilingualism (C. K.), Becoming a Researcher (M. B.), Linguistic Landscaping (K. J.), Digital Technologies, Identity and Migration (F. D.) and Multilingualism, Creativity and Innovation in International Business Settings (P. S.).
My surprise was strengthened when I reflected about French: Prof. V. M. used it mainly in her intensive three-day course of Communication plurilingue et dynamiques de participation au travail while Prof. I. de S.-G. and G. B. intensely used it only at the beginning of Introduction à l’ethnographie and Langage et education respectively.
But when it came to German, I inevitably I thought about how Prof. A. H. was the only one who made use of German, French and English in order to teach Studying and teaching in multilingual universities. Focusing now only in the language aspect, this class was the only academic space, besides the German course itself, where I felt the input to keep on studying that language.
At last but not least, I focused my attention on the course of German (A1 level), where the two teachers from a private institute from the city, C. B. and M. S., did not use other languages, with the exception of some words.
Precisely, the balance of all the languages (mother tongues) helped us, students, to understand words without necessarily having to translate them into English. E.g.: The teacher said tisch and then, one of us said the same word in another language, and we all started like a “chain of meanings” until we understood it.
We were 18 students (prospective students of diverse masters) from different backgrounds, ages and countries (Japan, Bulgaria, Cameroon, India, Luxembourg, Greek, Portugal, Turkey, Rumania, Poland, Egypt and Norway). Most of us had arrived only some days before starting that class; we did not know each other, or the classrooms, or the teachers, etc.
After two intense weeks of studying German for about 5 hours per day, we sat for the first exam at the University of Luxembourg. That was definitely an experience that made the group feel more connected. 70 days later, we got mostly positive results of our tests.And more importantly, from those 18 students, many of us will keep studying German.