Modern Languages students discuss European crisis
Staff from the Modern Languages department took students on a journey through crisis-ridden Europe in an event offering students the opportunity to hear four different countries perspectives on the current economic crisis.
The event, entitled “What the European Crisis looks like to us – Comparative Perspectives on the Crisis and its Impact from France, Portugal, Spain and Germany” took place on 21st March in the Queen’s Building and attracted over 50 students.
The concept behind the event was to look at the European crisis from different angles; those of four members of the College of Humanities international Modern Languages staff. Students were given the opportunity to discuss a current pressing issue from another viewpoint, allowing more engagement with the topics and thereby developing students’ cultural knowledge.
Adam Walding, 1st Year BA Modern Languages student, said, “It was enjoyable to gain an insight into something that we only experience from a British viewpoint, to directly hear how people from their respective countries feel about the effects of the crisis”.
The virtual journey through crisis-ridden Europe began with introductory presentations from the panel, starting in France with an account of French attitudes towards the European Union, led by Angela Berrichillo, Lector in French. Dr Susana Afonso then illustrated what the austerity measures put in place mean for the Portuguese people, and the social and cultural reaction to the crisis. Portugal’s Iberian neighbour was represented by Isabel Moros, who focused on the impact of the crisis on young people in Spain and the response to the crisis in form of the Indignados movement. The German perspective was then provided by Christian Mossmann, who discussed the German role in the crisis and what German attitudes to the crisis are based upon.
The questions raised in the resultant debate covered a wide range of issues, from attitudes towards the role of the UK, to the effect of increasing emigration to the future of the Euro, leading to the conclusion that that the European crisis is a multi-faceted and complex topic that could only be understand by considering different perspectives and points of view.
Anna Heane, 2nd year BA Modern Languages student said, “The discussion was frank and engaging, providing an insight into the past and present economic situation of the four respective countries. The chance to direct questions to the panel at the end of the session gave students an opportunity to offer their own points of discussion and play a more active role in the debate.”
Christian Mossman, Associate Lecturer, said, “The positive feedback of students received after the event indicates that the aim of the event was achieved, which was not to offer a solution to the crisis, but to create an awareness of a wealth of perspectives. The event was very successful, it helped the students engage more with current affairs and we will be exploring the possibility of providing more events of this type.”
Date: 16 April 2012