First contact with a new language

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 | Vienna | UNO Vienna

In support of multilingualism at the United Nations, the UNOV/UNODC Staff Development Unit has launched a new initiative to advertise its language courses.

As usual before each new semester, language teachers occupied a stand in the rotunda of the Vienna International Centre at lunchtime. They discussed the content of the courses with potential students and helped them to register.

This year, before the start of the spring semester, two teachers had also organized special activities in a relaxed environment to give interested staff members a first taste of the language or the country in which it is spoken.

How well do you know Russia?

The Russian teacher invited UNOV/UNODC staff to a lunchtime quiz about Russia and its culture, history and geography. Participants used their smartphones to log into an Internet platform. The system recorded the answers and ranked the participants, who all received a prize at the end!

Example questions included: Do you know how many time zones there are in Russia - 7, 9, 11 or 13? Who was Czar at the time of Napoleon’s invasion - Peter the Great, Alexander I, Nicholas I or Nicholas II?

Check your answers at the bottom of this article.

‘Hello’ and ‘How are you?' in Chinese

The Chinese teacher invited staff to a free, hour-long demonstration of Chinese level 1 with Chinese tea, cookies and sweets.

Participants learned how to say “hello”, “how are you?”, “very well” and “thank you”. They explored the logic of Chinese numbers and got a glimpse of Chinese ideograms.

They left with the feeling that Chinese was not such a difficult language after all!