Thinking of booking a holiday abroad next year and looking to learn the lingo? Then there’s the perfect opportunity to try out your Bonjours and Buen Dias at a special fundraiser organised by Durham University graduate, Naomi Green, in aid of our Action Language English teaching classes.

Naomi, who graduated earlier this year and is now employed by the university as a Staff Volunteering Administrator, is organising a ‘Language Café’ event to help people improve their speaking skills.

Naomi had the idea for the fundraiser after spending eight months in Argentina’s capital as part of her undergraduate degree in Politics, Spanish and History. She found language cafes were a popular part of the night life in Buenos Aires.

She said: “When I first moved to Buenos Aires it was a common thing. Lots of immigrants move there from all over the world and language cafes are a good way to meet people. There is an organisation called Mundo Lingo who would host free language exchange nights across the city at different bars.

“You’d be given stickers for your native language and any other languages you spoke and you would spot other people’s stickers and go over and mingle. You could find people to practise your language with, whether that was Mandarin or in my case, Spanish, and you ended up meeting people that way and starting conversations.

“I just thought that would work really well as an opportunity for a fundraiser for Action Foundation as a lot of the charity’s work is around providing English language classes.”

 “I think the work Action Foundation is doing to combat social exclusion and support the integration of refugees and asylum seekers into North East communities is really important, and educational institutions like Durham University can and should be playing a role in achieving this.”

Any level of language learning is acceptable at the event. “I think everybody is in the same boat, everybody feels a little bit nervous and you don’t have to start a conversation in your second language,” Naomi explained.  “Even if someone is fluent in one language (like English) they probably have another they will struggle with. I speak very terrible German. But this is a really laid back event and everyone’s welcome, no matter where they are on their language learning journey!”

Anyone interested in practising their language skills is invited to the Language Café event at Alington House on North Bailey, in Durham city centre from 6pm on December 7. They’ll be able to talk to native-level speakers and other learners over a non-alcoholic Christmassy drink and a bite to eat. Tickets cost just £5 with all proceeds donated to Action Foundation.

You can book your tickets here or via the Durham University Staff Volunteering Facebook page