The Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT), has recently launched a call for undergraduate students of French, Irish and Spanish at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) to ‘adopt a class’ of twelve year olds at their former post-primary school.

The programme is excellent preparation for aspiring teachers as the students will receive induction training delivered by teacher educators, spend at least four hours getting to know their class before departing on their third year abroad and keep in regular contact, through the class teacher, during their time away. The students also become ambassadors for the University and make a meaningful connection with the post-primary community.

Ian Collen, NICILT Director, commented ‘Like in other parts of the UK, uptake of languages post-14 is declining in Northern Ireland at an alarming rate and it is hoped that this project will allow young people who are making GCSE choices to see the benefits of learning a language and spending a year abroad’.

The programme will be monitored and evaluated through internal university quality assurance processes as well as a small-scale research project to provide further evidence of impact. If successful, it is hoped that it will become an integral part of the year abroad experience for students of modern languages.

NICILT is based at QUB and receives funding from the Department of Education in Northern Ireland. For more information visit:-


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