Youth - Young people building Europe

Intercultural language course: Programme 2008

Developing international youth cooperation through intercultural language training

Table of contents

Programme 2008
Presentation of the Council of Europe Intercultural Language programme for youth leaders and youth workers
Who are theses courses for?
Profile of candidates
Application procedure
Selection criteria
Conditions of participation
Programme calendar
Dates and venues for the 2008 courses

Programme 2008 

Consulter la base de données des activités

Presentation of the Council of Europe Intercultural Language programme for youth leaders and youth workers  

Intercultural competence and foreign language skills are seen as essential preconditions for youth mobility, for the development of international activities and for increased youth participation, one of the key priorities of the Council of Europe’s Directorate of Youth and Sport’s activities. The intercultural language courses were initially set up in order to support youth workers and youth leaders develop the necessary skills and competences for working with young people from all over Europe. Part of a programme called “Quality development and support measures”, the intercultural language courses combine language learning with a non formal education methodology and intercultural learning, which are as needed as the language itself when meeting other cultures, traditions, countries.

The aim of the intercultural language training programme is to promote intercultural dialogue with a special focus on human rights and youth policy development at European level by bringing together young people from different backgrounds and countries.

The strategic objectives of the intercultural language learning which contribute to enhanced international youth work and cooperation, are to:

  • promote intercultural dialogue, as well as international understanding and co-operation;
  • provide young people and youth workers with the opportunity to discover the diversity of youth actions in different countries;
  • encourage networking amongst European youth associations;
  • contribute to the diversity of languages spoken in international youth work.

The learning objectives are to develop the knowledge and experience of participants:

on human rights education:

  • getting acquainted with human rights education and the Directorate of Youth and Sport’s approach to working on it/with it with young people;
  • exploring the links between intercultural learning, intercultural dialogue and human rights education;
  • raising awareness on the importance of human rights issues and human rights education in international youth activities;
  • Getting to know the human rights situation in the country of the language course by meeting youth NGOs, youth representatives and others.

on intercultural learning and intercultural dialogue:

  • raising awareness on the importance of intercultural learning for intercultural dialogue;
  • encouraging intercultural dialogue through language learning and contact making/networking with local NGOs and youth associations in the country of language learning
  • exchanging on experience and going deeper into theory of intercultural learning,
  • making a link between participants’ experiences during the course and their youth work reality
  • passing on and exchanging information on educational tools
  • reflecting on the role of intercultural learning in international youth work, with a focus on the promotion of diversity and the respect of cultural differences.

on youth work:

  • gaining knowledge about the youth organisations represented by the participants
  • getting to know European structures for youth work
  • reflecting about the role of youth work
  • getting to know the reality of youth work in the host country of the respective intercultural language course.

Those objectives are to be reached through the development of linguistic and communication competences, in particular those needed for youth work and international co-operation.

To be able to take part in intercultural dialogue and to promote international understanding, human rights and democracy, young people today must develop genuine communication and co-operation. Language learning with a strong intercultural dimension can contribute to an active, critical understanding of each person’s own culture and of others’ culture and this programme allows participants to undertake multicultural exchanges and to develop this international understanding and co-operation. They also encourage an interest in areas other than just language: history, politics, culture, ideology, geography, religion and everyday life in another country.

The courses combine various elements that provide participants with an understanding of interculturality and communication skills in the target language adapted to youth work activities, as well as with the skills to continue developing intercultural attitudes and language learning afterwards:

  • workshops and activities on intercultural learning, human rights education and international youth work in the target language;
  • classroom sessions using a variety of materials and activities relevant to youth work and the participants’ needs and interests and linked to topical workshops; these sessions provide for practice in the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing as well as for developing knowledge of grammar and vocabulary;
  • periods of individual study for practising specific skills and consolidating learning;
  • contact with local youth organisations to discover youth work at local level;
  • a programme of cultural and youth work visits.

The educational teams generally comprise language teachers and one youth work trainer (except for Arabic) fluent in the target language. They alternate their sessions but coordinate to ensure that language learning and non-linguistic learning are linked and are mutually enriching, and that similar methodologies (non formal approaches and practices) are used. But the success of the course depends on participants’ initiative and the responsibility they take for their learning. The course educational teams are consultants for learning.

For an overview of the courses offered in 2008, see the calendar at the end of the document.

Who are theses courses for? 

Supporting youth organisations

Applicants should be active in a youth organisation/structure connected to one of the following youth organisations/structures:

  • an international non-governmental youth organisation or network;
  • a national youth council;
  • a national agency of the YOUTH Programme of the European Union;
  • a municipality, a local, regional or national authority;
  • a ministry or the CDEJ (European Steering Committee for Youth).

The intercultural language courses should be seen as an opportunity for capacity building for youth organisations. For this reason, candidates must be nominated by their organisation, which must justify their choice through the benefit participating candidates represent for the projects or activities they are implementing within the organisation or for the organisation’s development at European/international level.

The participants chosen should be aware of the importance of their participation in the intercultural language course for the development of their organisation. They will be asked to take part in a follow-up activity that will be documented to both the supporting organisation and to the Division of Youth and Sports of the Council of Europe.

ONLY the organisations/structures mentioned above are able to support applications. Applications not supported by such an organisation/structure are not eligible.

Profile of candidates 

Applicants must:

  • be actively involved in youth work, in a youth organisation, network or authority, preferably at European or international level or committed to taking on responsibilities at international level;
  • be aged between 18 – 30;
  • be well informed about their local organisation/structure and the international/national supporting organisation/structure (participants should be able to present their organisations and activities to the other participants);
  • have an interest in the intercultural dimension of the course;
  • have a clearly defined need for developing intercultural language competences;
  • be willing to contribute to the development of the programme and to the group processes, and to take responsibility for their own learning;
  • agree to be involved in a follow-up activity of value to their organisation.

These courses:

  • are not suitable for complete beginners or for people with an advanced level of the language
  • require commitment, initiative and active participation

Application procedure 

Submission of applications and recommendations will be done online using a dedicated platform.

Applicants should

1. go online and follow the indications for registration;
2. fill in the application form online
3. print the document before submitting the application (as they will need to forward a copy to their organisation)
4. on completion of the application, they will receive a confirmation email indicating also a reference number. Applicants should note down this reference number carefully
5. they should then forward a paper version of their application by post (or a scanned version by email) to their supporting organisation, indicating the reference number, so that the supporting organisation can complete and submit a recommendation form of their candidacy.

Supporting organisations should

1. go online and follow the indications for registration that will appear separately for supporting organisation
2. download the recommendation form and complete it (clearly indicating the reference number of the candidate and using a separate recommendation form for each candidate they support)
3. scan the document as we need to have a signed copy (lease avoid sending faxes to the Directorate of Youth and Sport).
4. upload the recommendation form or forms in pdf format. The system will allow each organisation/structure to upload 3 recommendations for each language course. The document uploaded as first recommendation will be given priority over the others.

The supporting organisation/structure should also notify the participant. Applicants who wish to receive a copy of the recommendation form should contact the supporting organisation directly. The Directorate of Youth and Sport will not forward any document.

Deadline for online applications and for receiving the completed recommendation form in support of the applications: 6 April 2008 at midnight (French time). Applications or recommendations received past that date will not be considered. Incomplete files will not be taken into consideration.

All applicants and supporting organisations/structures will be notified by email before the 1 May.

  • No applications will be accepted after the deadline.
  • Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Applications without recommendation letters are not eligible.
  • Applications not presented by one of the above mentioned organisations/structures are not eligible.

Any correspondence should be addressed to: [email protected]

Selection criteria 

The selection of participants will be based on the following criteria:

  • the applicants’ motivation and learning needs for their international youth work activities;
  • language level;
  • priority given by the supporting organisation;
  • the applicant’s youth work responsibilities as determined by the projects and activities described in her/his application form, and the supporting organisation’s comments thereon;
  • relevance of the applicant’s projects and activities to the DYS’ priority areas.

Priority will be given to disadvantaged applicants (for example young workers, unemployed) or those who would not otherwise have the opportunity to study a foreign language.

Quantitative aspects for a balance within the group will also be taken into account, in particular:

  • maximal ratio per type of organisation;
  • sex balance;
  • geographical balance.

Those who have already participated in the Directorate of Youth and Sport Intercultural Language Programme are NOT eligible to re-apply.

Conditions of participation 

Travel expenses:

Travel expenses must be covered by the participant and/or her/his organisation/structure.

In order to encourage the participation of disadvantaged young people, the DYS has created a special fund to partly cover travel expenses of young people who cannot afford to pay the costs of the journey.

This fund is very limited (on average, a grant amounts to €80) and can only assist a very limited number of participants.

If participants think they may be eligible for help, on receipt of confirmation of their acceptance for the course, they will be asked to submit a request justifying why s/he should be considered for the grant. This request must be accompanied by a letter of support from the supporting organisation indicating also why they cannot cover the travel costs of their candidate.

Board and lodging. Tuition fees

Board, lodging and tuition fees are covered by the Council of Europe and its partners in the host country. Participants must be aware that they will have to cover these costs themselves if they are absent from any part of the course without good reason, approved in advance by the course education team.

While all expenses (board, lodging, educational costs) for full participation in the courses are covered by the Council of Europe and its partners, no pocket money for other activities is available. Participants should find out about local costs and make sure they have enough pocket money for their own expenses and extra curricular activities.

More detailed practical information regarding accommodation and the programme for each course will be sent out to successful candidates once their participation is confirmed.

Enrolment fees:

Participants must pay an enrolment fee of 100 Euros at the beginning of the course. Participants eligible for a special funding for travel expenses will still need to pay this fee.

There are very few places for a high demand. Therefore, once selected to participate, the candidate must commit her/himself to attend for the whole duration of the course. If, for any reason, the candidate is unable to take up the offer of a place, s/he must immediately inform the DYS Secretariat and the supporting organisation. This is also the case for applicants placed on the waiting list.

Programme calendar 

Calendar for the selection of participants:

17 March

Publication of the call for applications

6 April

Closing of applications (online application and receipt of recommendation letter from the supporting organisation)

28 Feb - 1 May

Envoi des résultats de la sélection aux participants et aux organisations les ayant proposé(e)s.

15 May

Selected applicants to confirm their participation.

Deadline for applications for help with payment of travel costs.

Before the course

Participants should contact their headquarters for help with organising their journey/visa and to get information about their international/national organisations.


Intercultural language course

After the course

Participants to send written report on course to their supporting organisation within two months.

Dates and venues for the 2008 courses 

Intercultural French language course
France, European Youth Centre Strasbourg
Dates: 6 August to 3 September 2008
(30 participants)

Intercultural German language course
Germany, Europa-Kolleg Kassel
Dates: 28 July - 22 August 2008
(26 participants)

Intercultural Spanish language course
Spain, Mollina (European-LatinAmerican Centre of Youth (CEULAJ)
Dates: 7-25 July 2008
(15 participants – preferably residents of countries non-member of the European Union)

Intercultural Russian language course
Russian Federation, Moscow
Dates:23 June – 19 July 2008
(20 participants)

Intercultural Italian language course
Italy, Provincia Autonoma di Trento
Dates: 30 June – 19 July 2008
(20 participants)

Intercultural Arabic language course
Dates : 30 June – 25 July 2008 or 7 July – 1 August 2008 (to be confirmed)