The Language Voluntariate programme at Pompeu Fabra University aims to foster awareness of the Catalan language and reality on the part of foreign students, on the one hand, and to promote "internationalization at home" and language learning by regular UPF students, on the other hand.
To achieve this dual objective, the Language Voluntariate programme organizes its activities around two axes: the programme of cultural and leisure activities, including visits and various activities to let students get familiar with the territory, the language, the heritage, the culture or the folklore of Catalonia and other Catalan-speaking territories; and the conversation exchange programme, aimed at creating language pairs or tandems for the exchange of conversation between foreign and local students so the former can learn or improve their knowledge of Catalan (and/or Spanish) and the latter can learn other languages or practise them in an informal setting. All the activities within the UPF Language Voluntariate programme are also open to administration and services staff and teaching and research staff wishing to join them.
Leisure and cultural programme
During the 2009-2010 academic year the Language Voluntariate has scheduled some thirty outings and activities both in the city of Barcelona as on the rest of Catalonia and other Catalan-speaking territories. Sightseeing and activities carried out this year around the city of Barcelona include: the Ciutadella Park, the Gothic Quarter, Collserola Park, the Parliament of Catalonia, the National History Museum of Catalonia, a literary tour in around the play L'ombra del vent, Park Güell, attendance at a rehearsal and a performance by the Castellers de Sants (human castles), a gastronomic route through the city, a tour of the Picasso's Barcelona and a tour of the modernist Barcelona.
As far as the rest of Catalonia and other Catalan-speaking territories is concerned, the visits during this year include: Tarragona, Calafell, Valencia, Colonia Güell (Sant Boi de Llobregat), Girona, Vic, Reus, Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Perpignan, Sitges, Andorra, Torredembarra, Montserrat and Vall de Núria. Furthermore, the UPF Language Voluntariate programme also attended the Third Meeting of the Linguistic Volunteers of the Xarxa Vives (including all Catalan-speaking universities), held in November 2009 in Cabrera de Mar, Maresme, which brought together language volunteers of all the universities concerned.
Conversation exchange programme (language pairs)
Under the conversation exchange programme, during the 2009-2010 academic year a total of 314 language pairs have been arranged: 159 in the first term, 120 in the second term and 35 in the third term. Although most language pairs consist of students, some include administration and service staff or lecturers.
This year the most requested languages have been as follows: as to exchange students, approximately 25% of students participating in the programme ask to learn Catalan, while the remaining 75% calls to learn Catalan and Spanish or only Spanish; and as for Catalan students, the most requested languages have been, in this order, the following: English (which accounts for about 70% of the requests), German, French and Italian, although other languages, as Swedish, Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch or Japanese, among others, have also been exchanged.