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Showing posts from 2020

Language learning needs to be protected from becoming a casualty of coronavirus (The i)

When learning a new language, you begin with the words you would normally need every day: words for meeting people, going to cafés and restaurants, asking for the way to the station. Now – in a world where a summer holiday, let alone living abroad, feels like a fading possibility – that rule seems ironic. While terms like self-isolation and social distancing have become basic vocabulary in English, those classic foreign phrases have evoked a strange sort of wanderlust, tainted by a festering frustration. With millions of pupils now staying at home until September at the earliest – language degrees and lessons could be among the most disrupted – and foreign travel affected for the foreseeable future, it is vital our ability to talk to the world does not turn into another casualty of coronavirus. Languages, at their heart, are about people communicating freely with each other, so as school and university subjects, they rely on a level of social proximity that is currently not possi

Coronavirus leaves universities with no choice but to cancel our exams (The Guardian)

Leaving university is usually a bittersweet experience, but it’s never been this disorientating. As my course shifts online, packing up my room and saying goodbye to my friends and to independence has turned this into one of the most disruptive periods of my life. The same goes for most final-year students I’ve spoken to – both those who study with me at Cambridge and friends finishing elsewhere. Of course, the degree isn’t actually done. For those of us lucky enough to be able to go back home our thoughts pass to our exams. Coming from a current finalist like me, a plea for our exams to be cancelled might sound like someone looking for an easy way out. But universities are the ones that have to face up to reality in the middle of a life-changing global emergency. It’s the fairest option we have left. Having devoted a staggering amount of the last four years to my studies, to lose out on the satisfaction of completing them properly would be beyond demoralising. The ideal scenario