VMU Launched New International MA Programme
Vytautas Magnus University started new academic year with a new international joint-degree master study programme “Sociolinguistics and Multilingualism” (SoMu). The programme is co-organised by Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania), Johannes-Gutenberg University (Mainz, Germany), Stockholm University (Sweden), and the University of Tartu (Estonia).
This is the first master study programme in Europe which focuses on social aspects of languages and multilingualism in the whole Baltic region. Anneli Sarhimaa, who is the Professor at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, says that “here, in this programme, we do not concentrate in multilingualism related to national languages and the languages that are usually used in the European Union, for example, English, French, but we rather pay attention to the diversity of other languages”.
With its geographical focus on the entire Baltic-Sea region, the programme is unique amongst all sociolinguistic MA programmes in Europe in the width of languages and societies covered by the programme. “This programme is interesting because of its language variety, geographical difference and other cultural issues”, says Swedish language teacher (Johannes Gutenberg University) Eleonore Kruse. “Knowing other languages opens all the paths, gives you different perception about other languages, and cultural issues”.
Frederik Bissinger (Germany), who is a student of SoMu programme, thinks that the programme is interesting and unique because of the diversity of languages in the Baltic Sea area which belong to different families of languages. Languages create and strengthen networks between different international institutions; therefore, Frederik agrees that “working together and exchanging experiences often improves the outcomes of the work. Moreover, it is a good opportunity for all SoMu students to improve their intercultural skills, not only on campus but also beside the studies, which is required for good job opportunities”, adds Frederik. Another SoMu student from Germany Maren Gockel thinks that “it‘s very important to adapt our educational system to this development and learn and work not as isolated nations but rather as a cultural community”.
International joint-degree master study programme SoMu will help the students to understand the whole environment in a global sense, to make creative decisions, and react into various changes in a contemporary society.