Storyhouse announce new community event: the Language and Culture Café
Storyhouse and English-in-Chester, an English language school for international students in Chester, have been working in partnership to organise the Storyhouse Languages annual festival since 2018. The Language and Culture Café is a new monthly event at Storyhouse, which evolved out of that ongoing relationship. Anna Peace from English-in-Chester tells us more.
Can you tell me a bit about your job role at English-in-Chester?
I am the Social Programme Coordinator at English in Chester. My job is to provide our international students with cultural events to make sure that they feel part of the Chester community, and ensure that they are practising their English outside of the classrooms.
For anyone who doesn’t know what the Language and Culture Café is, how would you describe it?
It’s an event where you get to meet local people and international people and share different cultures and languages.
It is split into two parts. The first half is set up like a speed-dating/friending, where native English speakers are paired with non-native speakers (those people whose first language is not English). In part two, you separate into groups to practice a new language that you are currently or interested in learning.
It’s very informal and a great opportunity to socialise with different people.
How did Language and Culture Café come about?
We ran the “speed-dating” language exchange event sporadically pre-pandemic and it was always hugely successful.
I ran an ideas workshop with the international students, and they said they would be interested in doing something like that more regularly, so it came from the students really. They loved that they could practice their English, as well as be exposed to other languages, and share their own culture and languages with the local community.
What do you hope people will get out of it?
I think for both communities, both the local community and the international communities, it’s beneficial. The local community can learn about the other communities that we have here and the international community really get the British experience of meeting locals and people from Chester.
I moved to Chester from Brazil five years ago, so I know how it feels to be new here. When I had my daughter, I wanted her to be in touch with my community and her Brazilian side, so I went looking for people and communities and I was actually able to find a lot of Brazilians. I also run a Brazilian storytelling workshop and when we have the festivals at Storyhouse, I represent the Brazilian community here. I really hope that the work I’m doing can make it easier for other people to find representation of their own community, as well as learning about others.
Who can take part?
Everyone’s welcome. If you don’t speak another language, you can help other people who are here to learn. If you do speak another language, you can share it and share your culture.
If you’re new to Chester from across the world or if you are feeling isolated or lonely, then come along. In the past, when we’ve ran these events, no one gets left sat in a corner, everyone gets looked after. It’s a really warm and welcoming atmosphere!
English in Chester are always looking for host families to house international students.
“Being a host is a great way to travel the world from home and earn some money from your spare room.”
Rates are from £142 – £178 per student per week. If you live in Chester and are interested in being a host family, then please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.