The day began with a workshop on ‘Foreigner Talk’, in which guest lecturers, UCL lecturers and students explored how difference is formed through language and contact in a migrant context. I found the beneficial effects of bilingualism and linguistic diversity extremely interesting, especially to learn its enhanced cognitive effects, such as better focus in childhood and slower cogitative ageing. Furthermore, the talk on language contact and linguistic attitudes among Romanian migrants in Spain relates somewhat to our group project on Romania, and was therefore also extremely interesting to me. In particular, the existence of ‘Rumañol’ (a perceived random mix of Romanian and Spanish), and the fact that interference, assimilation and hybridisation are all part of linguistic reality of Romanian speakers in Spain, was fascinating.
Later on, everyone on the Danube course gathered together for a student panel and discussion about the experiences we had regarding interaction with Danubian migrants in London. It was fascinating to listen to each group’s stories, reflections and feelings about meeting and talking to ‘strangers’. We also had a debate on what it means to be a global citizen and how this course has contributed to our understanding of the term – a controversial, but highly interesting topic.
We also had our last language session with Ramona, where we watched a few videos about the Iron Gate and the Vidraru Dam in Romania. It was fascinating to learn about their history and see how enormous they are. I have really enjoyed learning the Romanian language with Ramona and although I wish we had more time, I hope to use the skills I have learnt in the future.
In the evening, we attended the opening of the Festival of Culture exhibition in Waterstones, where our portrait photographs and stories on Danubian migrants were showcased. It was interesting to see people’s reactions to our portrait photograph of Sabrina, as well as appreciating all the other groups work. Afterwards, we went to UCL’s Print Room Café, where we enjoyed some Bulgarian cuisine before heading home after a long day.
By Charlotte Weekes