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Slovak summer language school opens for 49th time
19 Aug 2013 Lenka Sabová Culture & Society
NOW IN its 49th year, the Faculty of Philosophy of Comenius University in Bratislava opened its annual Slovak summer language school on August 4.
“Next year we are celebrating the semi-centennial anniversary and it is proof that the summer school has tradition and quality,” Jaroslav Šušol, dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of Comenius University, told the press on August 2.
The course was established in 1965, making it the oldest summer university in Slovakia. This year, 160 participants from 35 countries all around the world are attending, including from as far away as Japan, Israel, Taiwan, Malaysia and China. Demand far exceeds space in the courses, Jana Pekarovičová, the director of Studia Academica Slovaca, told the press.
Students are divided according to competence levels, with beginners and pre-intermediate students in one group, and intermediate and upper-intermediate students in the other. Lectures are offered both in Slovak and in foreign languages for participants with a lower level of language competence. This year the main focus of the lectures is Slovakia’s cultural heritage and the legacy of Ss Cyril and Methodius.
In addition to the language courses and lectures, participants can take part in the optional programme that includes workshops where they explore Slovak culture. They take part in interactive seminars and have a chance to practice singing Slovak national songs, dancing, creative writing, theatre, photography or watching Slovak films. There is also a three day cultural field trip to Považie, Orava, Spiš and Liptov regions. As for getting to know the history, the students will have a chance to visit Devín Castle, the city of Nitra and the parish there, which is historically tied with the two Thessaloniki brothers Cyril and Methodius.
Most participants in the summer course are students of Slovak language or Slavonic languages. Students often return in multiple years to continue developing their skills. They may very well need the extra practice. Elizabeth, a freelance interpreter from Germany, speaks five languages and claims that Slovak is “the hardest language I have ever studied.”
Juraj, a student of Slovak from Budapest with Slovak roots, agreed that the language is difficult.
“Slovak is that kind of language that requires some time to learn and it has its complications,” Juraj told The Slovak Spectator.
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