"Language corner" exchange event delivers free student lessons

Wolfson world map

WCSA’s outgoing International Student Rep, Chon Wai Ho (Aden), tapped into Wolfson’s richly international student body last term to create a successful College-wide ‘language corner’.

Wolfson world map

“The idea of the language corner was a matching scheme for Wolfson students to come together in a language exchange,” says Aden.

“Whether it’s for career development or personal fulfilment, the language corner offered Wolfson students a free and fun means of learning whatever language they chose.”

A multi-lingual College community

Wolfson is a highly international college with students representing over 90 countries. With almost 1000 students, a large proportion of whom live onsite, there is a widely diverse pool of languages in the College community.

“If you are learning a language, there is a high chance that someone in the College can in fact speak that language fluently,” says Aden.

“The language corner scheme simply matched up like-minded people who were both looking to learn a language and were willing to teach a language they were already fluent in, harnessing the expertise that already exists in the student body.

“I just thought, we’ve come here from all over the world, why not make the most of the opportunity that presents!”

Students learning together

131 students signed up to the scheme when it launched in Michaelmas term, with 74 students initially matched into circles in which they both gave and received language instruction from their adjacent partners.

Participants were encouraged to learn and teach privately, deciding with their partners the best way of learning, such as setting up formal meetings throughout the term, informal meetings and exchanging messages or even simply having lunches together.

A cultural exchange

Following the matching process, the first language corner social was held on 11 October 2022, giving participants the opportunity to meet up and speak in many different languages. Those who didn’t sign up or were unmatched were also welcome, and several more were able to find a matching/teaching partner while they were there.

“It was a great opportunity to try out a new language that you have never thought of learning before, since the resources already exist in the College!” said Aden. “It’s also one of the best ways into understanding more about the culture of different countries, which is a big part of what Wolfson is about.”

Looking to the future

Although Aden is stepping down from his WCSA role, he’s hopeful that the scheme can continue next year.

“We had such a great response to the initial call-out, I think it’s a real boost to the College community as well. It’s the kind of thing that just takes a little organisation to get started but then once it’s set up people can really run with it.”