A DURHAM University graduate will help locals sort their hellos from their Buenos Dias after seeking to set up a ‘Language Café’ to raise essential funds for refugees next month.
Residents of County Durham who are considering booking an overseas vacation next year but struggling with the language barrier could be helped when graduate Naomi Green holds her one-time fundraiser in early December after to have been inspired by a recent trip to South America.
Naomi, who graduated from Durham University earlier this year and is now employed as a volunteer staff administrator at the university, is hosting the ‘Language Café’ event on Tuesday, December 7 to help people to improve their speaking skills, with proceeds going to North East Charity, Action Foundation, which helps refugees overcome exclusion.
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The Durham graduate came up with the idea for the fundraiser after spending eight months in Argentina’s capital as part of her undergraduate degree in Politics, Spanish and History. She discovered that language cafes were a popular part of the nightlife in Buenos Aires.
Naomi said: “When I first moved to Buenos Aires, it was a common thing. Many immigrants from all over the world settle there and language cafes are a good way to meet people.
“There is an organization called Mundo Lingo that would organize free language exchange evenings across town in different bars.
“You’d be given stickers for your native language and any other languages you speak, and you spot other people’s stickers and get mixed up.
“You could find people to practice your language with, be it Mandarin or, in my case, Spanish, and you ended up meeting people that way and starting conversations. ”
Naomi’s fundraiser for Action Foundation has come just at the right time, the charity has just announced that it will be launching a Christmas ‘Gift of Words’ campaign later this month, which will focus on fundraising. of £ 12,000 for Action Language, the ESOL teaching arm of the charity.
She added: “I think the work the Action Foundation is doing to combat social exclusion and support the integration of refugees and asylum seekers into communities in the North East is important, and educational institutions like Durham University can and should play a role in this achievement.
Any level of language learning is acceptable at the event.
“I think everyone is in the same boat, everyone is feeling a little nervous and you don’t need to start a conversation in your second language,” Naomi said.
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“Even if someone is fluent in one language, they probably have another that they will struggle with. I speak very poor German. But it’s a laid back event, and everyone is welcome no matter where they are on their language learning journey.
Anyone interested in practicing their language skills is invited to the Language Café event at Alington House on North Bailey, in downtown Durham from 6pm on December 7th.
They will be able to chat with native speakers and other learners over a drink and an alcohol-free Christmas buffet. Tickets cost £ 5, with all profits going to Action Foundation.
To book a ticket, go to: https://fixr.co/event/570745159.
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