MORE than 150 foreign students have gathered inBratislava to improve their Slovak language skills at the 44th Studia Academica Slovaca (SAS) .Over the next three weeks, Hungarians, Germans, Italians, Syrians, Taiwanese and Cubans will attend lectures, concerts, theatre performances, see exhibitions and travel to become familiarised with Slovak language and culture.
This year's range of students is similar to that of previous years: university students, foreign language teachers, translators, business people, and students with Slovak relatives or friends.
SAS teachers say it is difficult to determine which nations have the most trouble learning Slovak. Spaniards find the pronunciation of the consonants č, ž and š difficult, while Japanese and Chinese are not able to distinguish between r and l.
“Hungarians have dificulties with Slovak sentence structure,” Eva Španková from SAS told the SITA newswire.
On the basis of entry tests, students are divided into groups of beginners, intermediate and advanced students. At the end of the semester, the students will be given final tests to determine their level of achievement. All students will receive a certificate of participation.
Besides language studies, other activities are included to help the foreign students get a taste of Slovak culture and history. Films, including the documentary Blind Loves and the recent big hit Bathory, will be screened.
The students will also be able to participate in folk singing and dancing.