About the Programme
The status of Slovene Studies around the world and students
There are Slovene lectureships (for language, literature and culture) at 60 universities around the world. Slovene study programmes are available at many European universities, as well as in the USA, Japan, China and Argentina, while the number of Slovene sections in Slavic Studies departments is increasing each year. At 27 foreign universities in Europe students can obtain a degree in Slovene and continue their study of Slovene at postgraduate level.
More than 2500 students study Slovene at various levels at foreign universities. Students of Slovene are increasingly joined in lectureships by students from other subject areas who are in contact more frequently with Slovene due to the changed socio-political circumstances in Europe, European Union expansions, globalisation processes, and more internationally connected university markets, not only in Slovenia, but also in their own countries. In addition to language students (who usually study Slovene together with other subjects), Slovene courses are also attended by students of law, history, economics, journalism, international relations, marketing etc., and external participants. The suitably qualified teachers, together with regular university teachers at foreign universities where these are available, are able, within a range of groups, to meet the needs of the numerous course participants.
Centre for Slovene support
Lectureships and Slovene Studies programmes around the world are supported by the Centre for Slovene as a Foreign and Second Language. It has 8 programmes within which new text books and proceedings appear alongside learning materials. Teachers are offered further professional training and preparation before their departure for a foreign university; they are involved in various European and Slovene projects relating to teaching Slovene language, literature and culture, and testing; they also teach on various summer courses, at the Seminar of Slovene Language, Literature and Culture, and work on various seminars and on Obdobja Symposium.
Slovene teachers at foreign universities are mainly selected and sent to foreign universities via the STU programme and employed by the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. In Slovenia, they have completed an MA degree in Slovene Studies, have experience in teaching Slovene as a foreign language, are familiar with the host country and are proficient in the language of that country or one of the world languages. Before leaving Slovenia, they undergo training at the Centre for Slovene as a Second and Foreign Language and attend as observers some courses in Slovene and the summer Seminar of Slovene Language, Literature and Culture. Some of the teachers at the universities abroad are employed by foreign universities or are graduates of Slovene Studies or Slavic Studies who live in the country in question.
The work of a teacher at a foreign university is very varied. At Slovene departments with a degree programme in Slovene, the work is divided across a number of subjects, on which the Slovene teachers, in addition to their language classes, also lecture. At these universities the majority of lectures are given by one or more locally employed university teachers. Where Slovene has the status of a lectureship, the focus is on language teaching, although teachers also incorporate other areas, such as Slovene literature and culture. Teacher as mentors and comentors help their students writing seminars and degree papers as well as searching for the study materials in Slovenia.
The STU programme and the Centre for Slovene organise each year three two-day educational gatherings, where teachers actively participate and also learn about new developments and methods of teaching Slovene as a second or foreign language and about new teaching materials. As during the academic year communication can only be at a distance through the e-mail list SiLektornet, an important part of these sessions is being in the company of other teachers, working on team projects and exchanging experiences.
The programme Slovene at Foreign Universities is financed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also contributes to its organisation. The programme obtains financial resources for the implementation of additional projects, excursions and special events for the lectureships from tenders (e.g. from the Slovenian Book Agency), sponsors and donors in Slovenia and abroad.