English Language Literacy Project for Spanish Speakers

Active Citizenship Fund brings the Latin taste to Swansea.

The English Language Literacy Project is a Swansea University Modern Languages and Translation initiative, which has engaged learners of English and Spanish in a dynamic cultural exchange since November 2020.

The Project, which involves students, asylum seekers and refugees focuses on developing independent learners through co-design and assessment. The Project is also known as the Literacy Project for Spanish Speakers and is in its third successful year.

Funding, through The British Council Active Citizenship Fund, helps Swansea University staff and students engage with asylum seekers and refugees and facilitate more effective English Language learning.

Breaking all the barriers imposed by Covid-19, the project was born in 2020 against the odds, as an online initiative linking students of Spanish from Swansea University and asylum seekers, refugees and migrant families from Latin America and Spain. Meeting on Zoom, English conversation sessions took place until 2021. Initially, the project’s main activities took the form of mentoring sessions, but it has evolved to incorporate a wide range of activities such as masterclasses on Latin America, wellness sessions, talks on inner healing, mental health, Latin food start-ups and English language workshops for Spanish speaking children.

Some of these workshops have been delivered by Swansea University students and the project also benefits from established collaborations with third sector organizations locally and across the UK.

The amazing growth of the project was possible after receiving Research Wales Innovation Fund support (2021-2022). This enabled the project leads to develop an agenda of activities linked to active citizenship. This year the project aimed to enhance the confidence and communication skills, both in English and Spanish, of 35 participants: 15 asylum seekers and 25 students. The project engaged participants from the Hispanic refugee and asylum seeker community, in collaboration with external partners: The Vavengers, African Community Centre, (ACC), Changing the Narrative of VAWG, led by Deysi Carrillo, Brynhyfryd Primary School and the Swansea wellness provider Med.Land.

The project was informed by evidence-based research, as it addressed a recognized need from the participants as they expressed challenges about effectively learning the English language, and the lack of engagement with compassionate listeners.

Since the start of the project more than 40 sessions have been held, two research assistants have been employed, one intern has been placed in a third sector organization in Swansea, another student has been placed in a school facilitating reading support for Spanish speaking children. The project has also reached more than 30 asylum seekers and migrants over almost three years. 

This project is open to all students, not only from Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting but from any subject across Swansea University.

Find out more about Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting here.

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