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Sharing Perspectives on English-Medium Instruction

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Edited By Katherine Ackerley, Marta Guarda and Francesca Helm

English is increasingly used as a medium of instruction in European higher education not only in northern countries, but also in the European ‘south’. This volume is fruit of a project which was carried out in a public university based in the north-east of Italy with the aim of delivering professional development for university lecturers engaged in EMI. It begins with an overview of the European context, the Italian context, and some of the arguments against the indiscriminate spread of English as a medium of instruction in higher education. The volume then focuses on the microcontext of the university, giving voice to the various stakeholders in EMI. These include researchers, lecturers, administrative staff, those involved in professional development and students. The central part of the volume presents the views and experiences of twelve EMI lecturers from a range of academic disciplines. In sharing these perspectives on EMI, the volume hopes to stimulate critical dialogue and research on the many issues involved in this aspect of internationalisation in higher education institutions.

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The international relations officer (Sara Pittarello)

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SARA PITTARELLO1

The international relations officer

It all dates back to my experience as student at the Advanced School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators SSLMIT of Trieste, where I was trained to become a conference interpreter. The nature itself of the degree course I had chosen implied a high percentage of course units being taught in English or in German/Portuguese, that is those languages I had selected to train in for my degree programme. More specifically, it all started when I was in middle school, as I nurtured the idea of working in an international environment, where I could possibly communicate in my favourite language – i.e. English. That was the time when it became clear I would have moved to Trieste and I would have studied to become an interpreter, not so much because I was keen on working as conference interpreter in Brussels for the EU institutions or for an international organisation, but rather because I was eager to learn more about the secrets of languages, and the enchantment of the cultures hidden behind languages.

I owe my foreign language competences very much to Trieste. In spite of having always delved into English, it was during my university experience that I learnt to master English, or better that I actually learnt English. I still remember those simultaneous interpreting lessons where we were asked to practise by interpreting political speeches from Italian into English, and quite surprisingly it...

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