Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Engaging communities

We are an international community at the heart of the University of Edinburgh, working hard to ensure that our teaching and research are accessible to everyone.

As a school of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, with staff and students from all over the world, we value the part that we can play in building connections between global and local.

Across every subject area in our School, there are initiatives to raise awareness of the value of higher education among young people who may not have previously considered a university degree, especially in literatures, languages and cultures, and to share knowledge from our research with the communities most likely to benefit from it, including those in our home city of Edinburgh.

Our Steering Group meets regularly to discuss ideas and opportunities, from speed networking and other engagement activities for young Modern Language learners in local schools, to participation in the Sutton Trust Summer School. 

Events bring together a wider group of practitioners to ensure that we are constantly learning more about and from each other in this important area.

The valuable role our students play

Our students are involved in lots of our community work, both as part of School life and independently.

Examples include STTEPS, a tutoring and educational programme for teenage Syrian refugees in Edinburgh, SolidariTee, an entirely student-run charity supporting the international assistance of refugees and asylum seekers, and opportunities to help displaced Ukrainians settle in our city and access education and music tuition. 

All School-led activities, such as working as a language ambassador, include training on how to understand and articulate the skills developed through experiential learning in future careers.

Working with Ukrainian refugee children has been one of life's rare opportunities to engage with your community in a truly beneficial manner. Having fairly limited experience in children's education, I was initially concerned that the support I had to offer would not be of much use, however, within but one lesson there was little doubt that I could be of genuine assistance. Working with the children, I was able to develop my own language skills along with an ability to conduct lessons/activities in an engaging manner. To see the children's own development in English language was a uniquely rewarding experience and I highly recommend this work to anyone seeking to volunteer their time for a mutually good cause.

Year 4 Russian Studies student and volunteer tutor

Are you a language teacher? Get in touch.

We work with primary and high schools to share our passion for languages with younger learners and spark their interest in higher education.

Contact us about opportunities to collaborate

Find out more about the University of Edinburgh's Community Plan 2020-2025

Languages in the community - welcoming Ukrainian families to Edinburgh

Photo of Katia Popova at Old College, University of Edinburgh. It is a head and shoulders shot; she is looking at the camera.
In an updated article, we hear from the award-winning Ekaterina Popova and her students about helping Ukrainian refugees adjust to life in Edinburgh.

Conversation to career starter - the German interview

Graduates Sarah Partington and Rosie Shackleton talk about a German classroom interview project that led to voluntary roles at the National Museum of Scotland.

What’s it like to be a virtual language ambassador?

Recent French and Spanish MA (Hons) graduate, Anna, talks us through her final year experience.

Karneval! German students share carnival culture with local primary school

Students Annabel, Jasmine and Lia tell us about their virtual Karneval workshop with Craigentinny Primary School.

Related links

Find out more about the Sutton Trust Summer School