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Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Last week saw the 10th anniversary of the European Day of Languages “celebrated” throughout the European Union. If you didn’t realise, don’t worry you probably weren’t the only one.

The day which is officially organised by the Council of Europe and has a budget of 30 million euros was launched in 2001 to alert the public to the importance of learning a language, as well as promoting Europe’s rich and diverse linguistic heritage.

But in an era where every day seems to celebrate and promote an idea or cause, we ask the question, is the European Day of Languages even worth the paper it’s written on?

This year being the 10th anniversary we think it could have been the perfect opportunity to promote the importance of learning a language and the benefits it can bring to an individual. Unfortunately the well financed day passed by with a general lack of acknowledgement from the media and with few people knowing about it, the day faded into near obscurity. In the United Kingdom there were a small number of libraries that ran events and a few primary schools that held assemblies, but with a lack of a central organisation within the UK, it seems to have been but a drop in the ocean.

Elsewhere in Europe there was a greater attempt to celebrate the day, in Belgium there were poetry readings on the Metro and in Poland a gala dinner was organised to highlight the advantages of knowing a second language.

Here at Euro London we’d like to see the importance of learning a language championed every day by the European Union and not just one day a year, however well meaning it may be.

We’ll leave you to make your minds up on whether the day was worth the 30 million euros that were spent on it.

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Social networking is the talk of the town and more and more companies are jumping on the metaphorical bandwagon to reach customers in new, innovative ways. Whether it is via Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube, the methods are constantly diversifying. But while we support the social networking revolution and its importance in relationship building, here at Euro London we also believe that it is vital to meet people face to face to build lasting connections.

After all, we should not forget that all business, especially recruitment, is all about people. And while a tweet, a Facebook message or a Google+ post can keep you in touch, building a solid and long-lasting relationship requires a good old-fashioned personal meeting. This is why at Euro London it’s not all about social media and networking 2.0!

Our Munich office has been holding its candidate networking events regularly ever since it opened back in 2006 and this July saw the launch of its first ever “International IT Networking Event”. The event was a huge success and saw Munich IT specialists from all industries come together to network. It was the perfect opportunity for those involved to relax with a beer, build relationships and catch up on the latest industry news. The candidates who attended emailed us the day after to say what a successful networking event it was and even asked us to exchange their contact details so they can stay in touch with each other.

Euro London will now continue to hold it’s newly established “IT Stammtisch” on a regular basis to expand Munich’s Information Technology network.

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When we came across this story at Euro London, we couldn’t help but read on. A British student winning the French X Factor?! It sounds absurd, but Matthew Raymond-Barker touched the European nation’s hearts with his renditions of pop classics in the native language. Although admitting being less than perfect at the language when he arrived in the country, with the X Factor winner’s crown at stake Matthew quickly found his fluency with French.  

The story is a perfect example of how language learning can open up opportunities that you may never have dreamt possible. Ok, this is a rather exceptional example but nonetheless illustrates that you do not need to let language be a barrier to your ambitions.

Learning a language may just be the X Factor you need to find your dream job!

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German appeal

Why did the English speaker from Canada come to Germany to learn about North America in English? Sounds like the start of a corny joke, but many English-speaking students are flocking to German universities as a range of English language courses prove more appealing than those in the UK and the States.

Germany was recently named in an international league table as the most supportive country for overseas students. The appeal? English-speaking students never have to utter a word of German in order to complete their degrees.

As it stands, Britain ranks third in the same table, but risks losing this spot due to government policies making it harder for overseas students to study in the UK and to stay in the UK afterwards, whereas there are very few barriers for international students in Germany.

Tuition fees in Germany are significantly lower than the UK and far lower than in the US, where tuition fees can be as high as $50,000.

Germany is currently at the forefront of true internationalism in its education system, with many university lecturers being so proficient in English that an outside observer might not be able to tell who is a native speaker and who is not.

Since the cap on tuition fees in the UK has been lifted and universities can now charge up to £9000 per year, as opposed to a price in many German universities of 500 Euros per semester, will more UK-based students opt for an English-speaking degree from a German university?

It remains to be seen, although if you’re planning to trade in life in England for a German adventure, we’d recommend learning the language, as it’s a really valuable skill to bring home to the UK jobs market!

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Battle of the bands

Once a year, there is a battle in Europe. Every country carefully and democratically selects their warriors well in advance, subjecting them to rounds of gruelling competition and then months of strenuous training. The pride of every European nation falls on their contestants coming out on top, as there is no greater measure of success or popularity. Yes, we’re talking about the Eurovision song contest.

In line with a proud British tradition of Eurovision entrants, including Jemini, Gina G and Javine Hylton, the people of Britain have selected worthy and established boyband, Blue, to try to bring home the prize.

However, they may be beaten to the post, as the people of Ireland have chosen a seemingly infallible pair to compete in Eurovision 2011. These two are thick-skinned, energetic and have hair as bright as the sun and as tall as the sky – and they’re going to win (according to Louis Walsh)! We are, of course, referring to John and Edward Grimes, better known as ‘Jedward’.

For those of you who have the misfortune of being unfamiliar with Jedward, the identical teenage twins rose to fame during 2009’s X Factor competition in the UK. Week after week they stunned judges and viewers alike with their resilience. Like the villain in a horror movie who just won’t die, Jedward could not be voted off – even winning the protection and approval of Simon Cowell himself. They achieved all of this, despite the conspicuous absence of their vocal abilities.

We feel that these qualities of perseverance and determination guarantee that Ireland will avoid the dreaded nil points at Eurovision. Although Blue are strong contenders, Britain has a reputation for sinking with half-hearted has-beens and this could be the year that  Ireland comes out on top. We’ll even go so far as to say that 2011 could one day be referred to as ‘the year of Jedward’.

As much as Eurovision promotes healthy competition, it also unites us in a mesh of cultures bound together by a commitment to tuning problems and flamboyant outfits – and at the end of the day, no matter who comes out victorious, the whole of Europe will be tuning into Dusseldorf at the same time, brought together by a tradition so ancient it’s practically innate. Viva Eurovision – may the best obscure, C-list pop star win!

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We’re only just getting over the tragic demise of Paul the Octopus, the famous eight-legged German who correctly predicted the World Cup results last summer.

But it seems a new psychic has taken his place.  Her critics have called her a ‘dumb blonde’ and a ‘bit of fluff’ – but that’s only because she’s a cross-eyed possum!

She may be shallow and celebrity obsessed, but that’s exactly why she was picked to tip the winners of this year’s Oscars!

Heidi the possum, resident of Leipzig Zoo and Germany’s latest phenomenon will appear on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” show on America’s ABC and will choose her predictions from each category in the awards on the 27th of February.

She will feature on the show live from the German zoo and all profits will go towards animal projects, as well as ABC planning to make a donation to the zoo.

We don’t yet know how Heidi will pick her winners, although speculation is that food will be involved, much like her clairvoyant predecessor, Paul the Octopus.

The furry critter has around 300,000 Facebook fans, making her as popular as some celebrities! The world will have to wait with bated breath to see if her predictions are correct!

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Beards for Belgium

It’s not the first time a celebrity has got involved with politics – we’ve had Arnold Schwarzenegger in California and Wyclef Jean in Haiti. But this time, there’s a bit of a twist involved.

Belgian actor Benoit Poelvoorde is urging his fellow countrymen to grow beards until Belgium forms a government. A caretaker government has been running the country since June 2010, which sets a post-war record for a period without government.

Although I’m not sure how many Belgians will put down their razors as a way of supporting the cause, it is positive to see that a prominent figure is using their fame to try and help their country. Hopefully his plea will raise awareness and go some way to encouraging Belgium’s political parties to move forward. Would you grow a beard for your country?

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