La Réunion beach

With PROMOS funding to study French in the Indian Ocean

The fastest way to learn a language is to speak it. This is what 15 RUB students did in March 2019, more than 9,000 km away from Ruhr-Universität Bochum on La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The French island, which was formed three million years ago during the eruption of an underground volcano, is located almost 700 km east of Madagascar and about 200 km from Mauritius. It is about as big as the German Saarland and has about as many inhabitants as Amsterdam. You pay with Euro and the official language is French.

Tandem situation

Since 2016, the University Language Center (ZFA) of RUB has been organising a very special French tandem course. Students of the German Faculty of the Université de La Réunion have already visited the RUB twice. In order to improve their French language skills a group of RUB students travelled to the tropical island in 2017 for the first time. Considering the high travel costs (approx. 900 euros per person), this would not have been possible without the financial support of the project by the Franco-German Youth Office and the PROMOS programme of the DAAD and Ruhr-Universität Bochum. The second visit of RUB students to La Réunion in March 2019 was funded by the DFJW and PROMOS.

Besides study trips such as the ZFA tandem project, the PROMOS programme also funds individual student stays abroad (internships, study stays at RUB partner universities as well as stays to prepare the final thesis).

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Tandem group

Six weeks after their trip to La Réunion, the RUB students reunited at the ZFA to talk about their experiences and the success of the tandem project. In cooperation with the French students, they produced bilingual videos on topics such as cultural differences, stereotypes and clichés. Those will be available on the ZFA website soon. However, the exchange between the students went far beyond academic collaboration: in their free time they explored the island, marvelled at the active volcano Piton de la Fournaise and tasted Creole specialities, altogether. For some, the 14-day trip has whetted the appetite for more. They can imagine to go abroad for a semester or an internship. For that, the International Office can provide support within the PROMOS programme or the Erasmus programme.

Photos: University Language Centre