English is not Enough!

February 21st was a momentous day for DKIT. Just as a group of French students from our sister college in le Havre arrived on campus, Paypal announced that they were setting up in Dundalk and would need graduates with modern language skills.

The French flag was raised to welcome the 20 students and their lecturers as they were greeted by 1 stand 2nd year Business Studies French language students. This annual return visit between le Havre and DKIT is now in its fourth successive (and successful!) year. During the exchange all participants gained from the shared good will and friendship as they participated in an invaluable opportunity to develop their language skills and their cultural competence.

This exchange programme began four years ago when seven DKIT students and 1 lecturer travelled to le Havre and welcomed our counterparts here a few weeks later. Today's programme is built around bilingual workshops in both colleges. It also includes visits to historic cultural locations such as the D day landing beaches in Normandy. French students visiting DkIT this year were introduced to hurling, Gaelic and Irish dancing (courtesy of DkIT GAA society & Tom Quinn). Clearly, this is an event that promotes languages and offers the students a valuable opportunity to practice their language skills in the relevant country. However, it is also an opportunity for students to develop another essential skill – intercultural awareness.

Programmes such as the seare of increasing relevance in the region today, given the recent announcement of Paypal and various reports on future skills needs in an increasingly global business environment. Much credit is due to Cathal Kearney, Head of School of Business Studies & Humanities, for his on going support and Noreen Carney, International Office, for her proactive role in maintaining these links.

Yes, English is a global language but multilingualism and cultural awareness is what will give us the competitive edge!