Hundreds of Transition Year students across the country embraced the opportunity to ‘Express yourself in COVID times’ through a foreign language as part of a new competition launched by DCU’s School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies.
Supported by Languages Connect, DCU organised the event to provide students with a creative outlet for their passion for foreign languages during the pandemic when usual in-person interactions, which are so fundamental to language learning, were not able to take place.
The competition attracted more than 300 entries from 70 schools around Ireland. Students were invited to submit entries across a range of topics in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and multilingual for a chance to win prizes for Best Tik Tok story, Best video/Instagram story and Best Comic strip.
Best Comic Strip went to Our Lady’s School in Templemore while students from St Raphaelas in Stillorgan took first place for Best Tik Tok story and students from the Convent of Mercy in Roscommon won Best Video.
Runner up prizes and recognition also went to:
● Roscommon Convent of Mercy, 2nd prize Comic Strip
● Mount Sackville Secondary School Dublin, 2nd prize Tik Tok story
● Presentation Secondary School Kilkenny, 2nd prize Video
● Christ King Girl’s Secondary School Cork, 3rd prize Comic Strip
● East Glendalough School Wicklow, 3rd prize Tik Tok story
● Patrician High School Monaghan, 3rd prize Video
Organiser, Assistant Professor Lucía Pintado Gutiérrez from DCU’s School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, said: “We live in a multicultural society and studying languages opens doors to other countries, cultures, people and employment opportunities. Our languages competition was designed to make students feel excited and inspired about continuing to learn languages in a difficult year and so they could feel optimistic about the bright future ahead of them if they choose to go on to study languages at third level in DCU.”
According to Dr Pintado Gutiérrez, studying languages opens up global career opportunities across many industries as businesses expand into broader markets.
She added: “Good communication through foreign languages is essential to organisations and sectors operating globally. Graduates from our degree in Applied Language and Translation Studies are immediately work-ready and sought after for their professional competencies as language professionals and translators. Many of our graduates have found employment across a range of industries where they have applied their language skills,
including localisation, gaming, banking, tourism, education, research, and recruitment. Students taking a language as part of their Joint Honours degrees also acquire very interesting profiles that make them ready for the workforce.”
The benefits of studying a language are well reported with evidence to show that learning vocabulary improves memory and being bilingual develops multitasking and problem-solving skills. Being well versed in a foreign language also encourages appreciation for other cultures and helps students understand different cultural values.
The DCU Transition Year Languages Competition 2021 was organised with support from Languages Connect, which promotes the personal, social, professional and economic benefits of foreign language skills to principals, teachers, guidance counsellors, parents, students and stakeholders in post-primary education. The campaign was funded by the Department of Education and facilitated by Post Primary Languages Ireland, as a key objective of the Languages Connect – Ireland’s for Foreign Languages in Education 2017 – 2026.