The Importance of Language & Culture Week at AUBG

As all of us know by now, AUBG is home to many exciting cultural events that aim to entertain and educate students. One of these is Language and Culture Week, which is held annually every spring semester - this year will be its 14th iteration.


According to Dr. Stantcheva, AUBG’s associate professor of German, the event originally began in 2007 and was called Language and Culture Days. Since 2009, however, the event has been rebranded to Language and Culture Week, and has been organized by the MLL faculty every academic year (with exceptions for the years 2015 and 2020), and it has even been organized online, as was the case in Spring 2021. The main goal of this event, however, has remained the same. As said by Dr. Stantcheva, it aims to celebrate the four languages taught at AUBG (Bulgarian, French, German, and Spanish) and the cultures that represent these languages. Another aim is to “provide opportunities for students who study or are interested in the languages taught at AUBG to gather outside of the classroom to share their passion for these languages and cultures,” states Dr. Bozhinova, assistant professor of French. Outside of AUBG, connections are also made with local-language high schools in Blagoevgrad in order to attract prospective students. 


As Language and Culture Week has evolved throughout the years, it has featured more and more unique activities for students. It began as four days dedicated to the four languages taught at AUBG, with each night focused on one of these specific languages. Activities included presentations, quizzes, and even sharing cuisine from the respective country of the night. In recent years, the faculty has also organized “guest lectures, a discussion with translators, a roundtable with alumni using languages in their work, a video competition, and dance workshops,” Dr. Stantcheva said. The culture of the host countries is also given the spotlight. In addition to cuisine, there is also focus on “art exhibitions, theater performances, traditional songs, and dances,” Dr. Bozhinova said. 


Despite the recent events in the world over the past few years, Language and Culture Week has not lost its popularity among students  at all. However, organizing the event has become more difficult, since “we cannot have the lively interactions among the participants when the activities are online”, Dr. Stantcheva said. However, Dr. Bozhinova states that organizers have worked around these issues by implementing creative online activities - for example, movie screenings over Zoom, Kahoot! competitions, and online guest lecturers from France, Germany, Spain, and Bulgaria. In certain cases, the online format has proved to be successful, as it allows for interactions with guests who may not be able to be on campus. 


As for this year’s Language and Culture Week, organizers will have to be wary of the COVID-19 situation in Blagoevgrad before the event begins. Nonetheless, they are encouraging any and all students - not just those studying languages - to take interest. Although the art exhibition has unfortunately been postponed to the next academic year, there will be movie screenings in French, German, Spanish and Bulgarian on April 26th, as well as a  Poetry & Music night on April 27th. The event “is an excellent forum for students to see the importance of learning foreign languages and understanding culture in an enjoyable way,” Dr. Bozhinova said. The MLL faculty looks forward to seeing you at the 2022 Language and Culture Week!


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