A €6 million language centre, opened yesterday at the University of Limerick, is being aimed at attracting more students from abroad as well as helping undergraduates who plan to embark on business careers in the export market.
UL president Professor Don Barry said: “As members of Europe, with a total of 500 million citizens and 23 official languages, we must recognise the importance of learning languages.”
He said a study carried out by the EU Commission estimated that up to 11% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in exports were losing business due to language barriers.
“We in Ireland, cannot afford for this to happen to our SMEs, particularly in the current economic climate.”
Minister of State Peter Power, who officially opened the new centre on campus, said the building will provide a focal point for students, teachers and researchers, helping to promote language learning.
“The ability to communicate in foreign languages and an understanding of different cultures, are major advantages for Ireland’s standing in the world and international business. By focusing on such skills, UL graduates will have a competitive advantage and be better equipped to operate in the dynamic, emerging markets of the future,” he added.
Professor Pat O’Connor, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, said the new language building provided a vital opportunity for students to be exposed to the most-up-to date language learning facilities, where they will be taught by faculty who have won European Awards for Language Teaching over a number of years.
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