Student Expo Lingua
Prague's serene Slovansky Island, situated in the middle of the Vltava river near the National Theatre, was host to this year's Student Expo Lingua Conference, an international trade-fair of languages, culture and education. Hundreds of students interested in studying languages abroad visited the 8th annual conference where foreign universities, language schools and companies offering work abroad, came together under one roof to recruit and inform Czech secondary school and university students. Radio Prague's Nicole Klement spoke with a representative of ICEF the Company which organized the event.
"Well, the exhibition will take place on November the 8th and Friday November the 9th. This is the 8th time that the Expo-Lingua was in Prague."
And who has ICEF invited?
"Well there are international universities and colleges here, language schools and language travel agents who offer language courses abroad and also some schools who offer professional training."
When organizing the conference who was ICEF thinking of when they invited language schools? Was it university or high school students?
"It's both university and high school students because you will find a wider range of programs here. There are undergraduate programs represented as well as graduate programs but also general language courses for high school students who wish to improve their language skills. So really it is just to show Czech students the variety of education that is available if they wish to study abroad."
I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of educational courses available to Czech students. I spoke to representatives from several schools some traditional and others not so traditional. Stephie Barnham, a teacher at the Brockwood School in England spoke briefly about the non-profit, vegetarian school.
"I teach at a school in England. It is a very unusual school because it is very small, only 60 students and we try to have a mix of one or two student s from each country. I am here to see if there are any Czech students for the next few years. It is a regular high school but we have a big emphasis on nature education, outdoor living and health. The school is vegetarian. So it is sort of unusual in many ways. We are looking for very special students so if we only find one or two this weekend, that's fine."
Invited schools and companies offered information about foreign language studies both in the Czech Republic and abroad. I also visited the University of Victoria stand to ask the university representative about what the University hoped to offer Czech Students.
"We're from Canada's University of Victoria and we don't have many students from Europe. We are looking to expand into this area. And we thought Prague would be a great place to start because people here are really interested in learning English."
And what can you offer Czech students?
"Canada has the advantage of being a lot cheaper than Britain or North America. We are about one third the cost for everything, tuition and the cost of living in general." And what is the response here in the Czech Republic? Have a lot of students come up to you?
"A lot of them are interested in work opportunities which is unfortunately something Canada doesn't have a lot of for foreign students. We are here because it is a beautiful city, it is absolutely gorgeous and we are really happy to have been chosen by our school to come here."
Fantastic location I think.
"It is absolutely incredible and just wonderful to walk around and talk with the people and to have the great Czech beer and great food here, we are really enjoying ourselves."