A Language Exchange Program: Sustainability Innovation in Language and Culture Engagement
Trinidad Fernández, Grisel García-Pérez, Joaquin Santiago
Spanish Educational Laws over the past years have been promoting the widespread use of English as the vehicle for teaching and learning in most curricular subjects. This trend is evincing new needs especially among higher education students. Consequently, Spanish Universities are looking for ways to provide international training involving global partnerships. The Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain (UPM), and the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Canada (UBCO) have come together to offer opportunities for international collaboration and learning, thus facilitating virtual encounters among Spanish and Canadian students. The Language Exchange Program between the UPM and UBCO acts as a model for sustainability innovation in language and culture engagement as the students can interact with native speakers in communication tasks. This interdisciplinary initiative supports the latest methodological principles observed in the Common European Framework for Languages , such as autonomous and life-long learning, self-assessment and peer-assessment as well as the incorporation of new technologies to the learning process. Additionally the ‘virtual’ mobility is provided at no extra cost. This article presents the preliminary results of two virtual exchange programs that have been offering varied forms of study which are venue-independent, promoting collaborative work and cultural exchange.