Accessible for all – learning languages and making friends in Café Lingua

The newly published Language Policy illuminates the guidelines surrounding language use in the University and in its administration. You can develop your language skills in a relaxed and fun way for example in Café Lingua.

University of Oulu’s Language Policy

University of Oulu is a multicultural and multilingual community. There are dozens of languages spoken in the University daily. Thus, the Language Policy of University of Oulu was created. The policy’s launch was celebrated on Linnanmaa Campus Monday 26th of September on European Language Day. The Language Policy is a living document. This means that it is not final or unchangeable. The policy will be continuously updated as we gather more feedback and extend the conversations about it within the University community.

The Language policy seeks to clarify the use of language amongst the University community: in the administrative operations and in the everyday life of the University and its campuses. The goal is to get all relevant information available for all members of the community no matter the language they speak. Accessibility and equality are implemented to all aspects of life in the University. Read more about the feedback possibilities on the policy on the University’s website.

In addition to Finnish – which continues to be the official administrative language of the University – all relevant information must be provided in English as well. In addition to English, other languages are also celebrated and used whenever possible or relevant. University of Oulu also has a nationwide responsibility in teaching the indigenous Saami languages. Multilingualism is beneficial in developing the community, and having a multilingual study or workplace is a huge asset!

Develop your language skills in Café Lingua

Do you want to expand your current vocabularies or learn completely new languages? In Café Lingua it’s easy! Café Lingua is a weekly, open event organized by the Languages and Communication Unit, Talent Boost project and the Erasmus Student Network ESN. During Cafe Lingua participants will form language-specific tables. In these tables people speak – or learn to speak – different languages while having fun. Playing board games, telling jokes, or even just talking in a relaxed situation is a great way to learn new languages in an authentic setting.

The meetings in Café Lingua focus on interaction between participants. The selection of languages varies depending on the participants. Usually the language tables feature Finnish, English, French, German, Chinese and Arabic speakers. However, all languages are always welcome to join the fun.

There is no pre-registration for the meetings, you can just arrive! Especially more native-level Finnish speakers are much needed. The doors of Café Lingua are always open to everyone, whether you are an employee, student or just a neighbor, spouse, or a friend. Even exchange students from Oulu high schools have been participants. So, warm welcome to everyone, and feel free to invite your friends with you as well.

Above all, Café Lingua is a meeting place, where everyone can speak in different languages without the fear of failing. In the language tables you can really feel like part of a community. “I liked to game in Café Lingua. While playing board games, I didn’t fear to make mistakes, since I also wanted to win the game. Usually, I am afraid to make mistakes while speaking Finnish. It is easier to have other Finnish learners in the same group. Then I am not alone, and everyone sometimes messes up.” tells one of the students from Café Lingua.

Café Lingua has been one of those groups that survived through the corona pandemic: the language tables and their small communities have stayed close and active even through remote working and restrictions. The loneliness and isolation created by the pandemic has been tough on the students, and it shows even in recent wellbeing studies. Café Lingua is an important meeting place and community: both in terms of learning languages and in terms of social relationships. Sitting around a language table you can feel like a part of something big.

Do you want to do your part in building community in an international university setting? Talent Boost project (2021–24) offers bottom-up funding for student-led events, projects, or tryouts that strengthen the community and inclusivity in Oulu. Follow the University webpage for more info and grab the opportunity!

Last updated: 28.11.2022