Daugavpils University International Summer School 2021 “Regional Studies: The Case of Latgale” has ended successfully
From 23 July to 1 August 2021, the International Summer School, organised by Daugavpils University Latvian Studies Centre, “Regional Studies: The Case of Latgale”, took place. This year, the Summer School was held for the fifth time, but for the first time it was in hybrid form: the participants acquired the Summer School programme face-to face and remotely, synchronously and diachronically.
10 participants from Azerbaijan, Belgium, Italy, Indonesia, Cyprus, Georgia, Peru, Ukraine and Uzbekistan received State Education Development Agency scholarships for participation in the summer school.
Innovative methodological approach was developed, and different digital tools were used to execute the programme in a hybrid form. A special Moodle e-study platform site was specially designed to implement the study programme. Study materials, recording of classes from e-conference platform ZOOM, video-excursions were posted in the site. The participants were also able to use the platform to do homework and the final test.
Two modules – “Latvian Language as A Foreign Language Learning for A1 level” and “Regional Studies” were at the basis of the Summer School programme.
“Latvian Language as A Foreign Language Learning for A1 level” was intended to develop basic speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills of the participants, with a focus on the language use in daily situations and professional communication. Modern electronical resources and materials were used for acquiring Latvian language. At the end of the course, the participants completed a test on the relevance of their language skills to A1 level of knowledge.
In the “Regional Studies” module, students face-to-face or virtually visited many objects of Latgale's traditional and modern history, cultural and creative industries, exploring and analysing the cultural specificities of the region, tourism potential, natural resources and society. Practical tasks, discussion topics and support vocabulary in Latvian were integrated into the video-excursions filmed exclusively for the Summer School.
With participation in discussions and practical tasks, participants shared their views on the problems, opportunities and challenges of the development of Latgale region, analysed the region's society, culture and history, compared Latgale region with examples of their home country, and strengthened the newfound vocabulary in Latvian.
Multiethnic and religious diversity of the region was discovered in a tour of Daugavpils city, the characteristics of the region were examined during a visit of the home and garden of Pauls Sukatnieks in Dviete parish, the pottery workshop of Aivars Ušpelis in the Malta parish and the Rušona parish farm “Yuri”. The region's natural resources were analysed by watching the film about Nature Park “Dviete Floodplain”. Latvia culture canon and diversity of Latvia was discovered as a video-excursion to museum “Tadenava” was provided. In order to gain insight into Latgale's ethnographic heritage, a virtual visit was offered to Līvāni Art and Craft Centre, while an analysis of the cultural history layers took place on a tour of Daugavpils Fortress.
In order to acquire the traditions and religion of Latgale region in depth, hybrid-excursion to the Aglona bread museum and the Aglona Basillica took place. Some of the participants were attending it face-to-face, while other watched a live video. Although this was the first experience for both the Summer School participants and the organisers, overall, this innovative activity was successful.
The graduation of “Summer School” took place on August 1. The school's organizers and members looked back on the 10 days of training. A word-cloud was created in which the Summer School members “encoded” their impressions and memories of the Summer School. A map that marks the countries of the Summer School members was also created with participants, demonstrating the broad audience of the Summer School, which overlaps North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Participants of the school had produced a special letter to the teachers of the Summer School, with lovely words of thanks and good wishes in their native languages and Latvian.
A survey of this year graduates was conducted to provide feedback that would help improve organization of the school in upcoming years. The members of the Summer School welcomed the methods and solutions used by the organisers in the implementation of the hybrid training process, both in Latvian language training and in the regional study module. In addition, summer school participants provided a number of original methodological and technological recommendations and ideas for the implementation of the Summer School in the coming years. Most of the summer school participants acknowledged that they would like to meet in person after the pandemic's retreat.
Lūk, dažas no dalībnieku atsauksmēm:
Aytan Mukhtarova, Azerbaijan: Learning about Latvia and Latgale these ten days was a great, unforgettable experience. Thanks to the kind teachers for teaching so much! Təşəkkürlər! Paldies!
Melani Dzhanaralieva, Belgium: Thanks for the opportunity! You are the best teachers, and you were all very nice to us. I'll miss you, I hope I can visit Latvia sometime and see you all. You showed us how lovely Latvia is and how welcoming its people are. Merci, спасибо!
Cut Meurah Habibur Rahman, Indonesia: I would like to thank my teachers. Finally, I had a chance to learn Latvian. I was very pleased to participate in this summer school. If I succeed, I will be happy to come to Latvia to make practical use of the acquired Latvian language skills. Terima kasih! Thank you.
At the end of the Summer School, participants were issued certificates on the acquisition of the “Latvian Language and Regional Studies” programme at 6 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) and on the compliance of acquired Latvian language skills with A1 level.
The Summer School is organized by Centre for Latvian Studies of Daugavpils University Faculty of Humanities.
Summer School Team: Dr philol., prof. Maija Burima (Head of Summer School), Diane Skuķe, Ilmārs Mežaraups.
Follow the latest news of the International Summer School “Regional Studies: The Case of Latgale” on summer school home page and on Facebook.
This project is financially supported by the State Education Development Agency of the Republic of Latvia.
Dr. philol., Prof. Maija Burima
Head of Centre for Latvian Studies