ERASMUS SPEAKS, a Transnational Virtual Exchange Project (TEP) between the University of Limerick (UL) and five European partner Universities has won the European Language Label Award 2021.
The project was initiated in Autumn 2020 to provide third-year students with a virtual alternative to Erasmus mobility after it was cancelled due to Covid-19 emergency travel restrictions. Students from a number of disciplines (Applied Languages, Arts, European Studies, Business) learning either French, Spanish, German or English took part in the project.
The jury commended the project for enhancing the communication between Irish and European students in their Erasmus+ destinations: “The scale of this project is admirable. To have 600 students involved in language learning and in a linguistic exchange programme with students in 4 countries is a huge logistic achievement. Even though the complications of a physical exchange were removed from the project, there were new hurdles to negotiate, as students and staff upskilled in the use of digital technologies”.
The ERASMUS SPEAKS project had an overall positive effect on students’ engagement during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic. The impact was measured by the ongoing monitoring by facilitators during its 6-week duration, the high completion rate of tasks, the feedback collected in questionnaires, and anecdotal students’ comments (e.g. emails, LinkedIn profiles).
In addition, the project was recognised by the Transnational Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange (TEP) initiative (2018-2020); it resulted in official TEP digital badges being awarded to 617 participants, and 17 facilitators and coordinators. A total of 276 AHSS and KBS students and 7 staff members from the School of MLAL were among the recipients.
The TEP Badges acknowledge the successful completion of the project and lists the recipients’ skills developed, e.g. digital and intercultural competences, plurilingualism and cooperation skills. As a result, participants can showcase their new competencies on their CV or LinkedIn profiles and boost their employability.
The Award coordinated by the European Commission recognises innovative approaches to language learning.