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Total success – EILC 2012

It is the fourth year in the row that the School of Humanities of the University of Nova Gorica has organised Erasmus Intensive Language Courses *of Slovene (EILC). EILC courses are funded funded through the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission and are designed for foreign Erasmus students who intend to spend their Erasmus study period in a country whose official language is one of the less widely spoken European languages.

The university hosted 43 students from 13 different countries. Besides hosting students from European countries, we were glad to welcome also a student from Mozambique. Due to the rich selection of participating countries as well as due to the fact that among the course participants there were also representatives of various minorities (Basque, Catalan and Welsh), we could fully experience, explore and compare different languages and cultures. The atmosphere was definitely positive and challenging enough to motivate the students to learn Slovene – during the 60-hour course, the students were developing all four types of language skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing. They learned basic expressions, vocabulary as well as basic grammatical structures of the Slovene language in order to develop the students’ linguistic ability to function in everyday conversational situations in the local environment. They all successfully passed their final examinations in Slovene and we are glad to hear that the knowledge obtained does in fact help them in their daily lives while living here in Slovenia.












We are aware that learning a foreign language does not only require learning a certain scope of vocabulary or grammatical structures but also being aware of the target culture and cross-cultural issues in communication. We have therefore made every single effort to offer the course participants activities in which they could fully experience the Slovene culture, traditions as well as the geography and the history of Slovenia.

The following trips or events therefore took place:

–          »The Wine Tour« – grape picking in the the university’s vineyards, owned by The School of Viticulture and Enology. In Slovenia, grape picking is a special social occasion and one should not miss it … After picking grapes in Lože, we continued our trip to Goče, a charming little village, where we visited a small local winery, Cejkotova domačija. Anybody could envy us our dinner there – old regional traditional dishes were served in a great setting – an old, restored farmhouse in the old part of this lovely mediterranean village. The owner of the winery, Mr. Davorin Mesesnel, also took us to his centuries-old wine cellar and in candle light we could relax and listen to his stories and local legends about wine. Later on, we had a great wine-tasting session at the School of Viticulture and Enology, where we tasted various samples of wines produced by the University Estate. On the very same day, we also got to know the Vipava Valley from another perspective – as an area where various successful entrepreneurs come from. We visited one of them – the famous Pipistrel light aircraft producing company, where we learned everyting about the production of such planes and we admired the final products – the planes themselves.


















–          the trip to the famous Postojna cave and the mysterious Predjama castle
We visited the mysterious Karst region, famous for its underground caves, with the Postojna cave perhaps being the most attractive cave in the world. Visiting the adjacent Predjama castle – an imposing medieval castle, built in the rock face, partly in a cave, was an unforgattable experience. And we loved to hear the legend about the castle’s most famous inhabtant, the knight named Erasmus (what a coincidence;)).









–          the Trip to Bled
The charming lake with a lovely tiny island on it, dominated by a castle on a steep hill and surrounded by the Alps speaks for itself – see the photos or google Bled for more info … Another must for any foreign tourist visiting Slovenia.







–          the rafting on the Soča river
Admiring the wonderful nature, the surreal colour of the unique Soča river + loads of fun in the rafting boats – could one wish more?







–          2012’s novelty – the 1st EILC FUN GAMES.
Fun sports games in an interesting location, in unspoilt nature of the Trnovska plateau, on its ridge called »Gora«, overlooking the Vipava Valley. Before the games started, we first visited the village of Otlica and went on a short walikg tour to see the natural rock »window« (Otliško okno) and recharge our »batteries« at the supposedly energetic point at the mysterious man-made stone-spiral, called the »snail«. From the edge of the mountain ridge, we could admire the stunning views of the Vipava valley, the Nanos plateau, the Slovene, Italian as well as the Croatian coast etc. Then we drove to the nearby village of Predmeja, where we visited an exhibition of the project on the local flora and fauna as well as the traditional lace. Then the local societies, the Society for the Conservation and Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage »Gora« and the Okno Tourist Association, organised fun sports games for us. The winning team of course earned a prize and after the prize ceremony the members of the Country Women’s Association of Predmeja prepared us a delicious meal – the traditional polenta, cooked on open fire.


–          the trip to Trieste and its surroundings
The aim of trip was not only to explore the beautiful city of Trieste and to visit the famous Miramare castle nearby, but also to learn about the interesting history, geography and about the Slovene minority living in this part of Italy. We also visited some rather unknown destinations, which normally do not make part of typical travel itineraries, but are definitely worth visiting – we were walking the coastal trail on the cliffs between the coastal towns of Sistiana and Duino, we visited the mysterious sources of the subterranean river Timav/Timavo, which had already enchanted the Roman authors Livy, Strabo and Virgil. We also visited the impressive World War I memorial in Sredipolje/Redipuglia, where we learned about the Isonzo Front, a series of WW1 battles, which had made a huge impact of these parts of Europe.





We also tried to give the students an insight into their future professional fields and we have therefore organised the following two events:
– the presentation of the University’s Career Centre
– the visit of the »Dr. Franc Derganc« General Hospital in Šempeter pri Gorici (for the students of health management and students of medicine)

Our EILC students soon became extremely well-integrated in the local environment in all respects – they have even formed a football team and won the 3rd place at the traditional football tournament in Vrtojba, organised within the Boreljada 2012 festival.

Attending the EILC course of Slovene in such a pleasant and motivating atmosphere has definitely contributed to the successful learning of Slovene. The Erasmus period will thus undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience for all our forign students, who have, by the way, met many new friends during their stay at the University of Nova Gorica. And we are excited to hear about the reunions and common trips that they take part in, regardless of the fact that they are now studying at different locations all over Slovenia. Friendships simply last.

Se vidimo!

Veronika Piccinini, EILC Coordinator

* This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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5 Responses

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  1. martinnovak says

    Živjo! I really didn’t expect the Nova Gorica EILC course to be such a great experience. The month flew away very quickly. We were thaught basics of Slovene language, which helped us a lot in future conversations and understandings in this beautiful country. For this i want to thank our great teacher Petra Mišmaš, who’s approach made the study process fun (see Dangerous Minds, 2005) 🙂 Besides teachings, we had lots of great offers from our (also) great coordinator Veronika Piccini to travel and see Slovenian cultural and natural riches, not to mention Verinika’s perfect approach towards students (see Florian’s comment). In one word; splendid! (pitty it was just one month)

  2. bisco2 says

    It is really hard to explain it in only small amount of words, but I will try.
    It was one of the best period in my life. Studying slovenian language, be in touch with nice teachers and coordinator Veronika, enjoying the actions made by Veronika and exchanging ideas, opinions, experiences with kids in beatiful town Nova Gorica.
    Well, go for EILC to Nova Gorica!

  3. mikalappi says

    Three weeks in Nova Gorica EILC course were amazing and so funny and I’m sure that I will remember those weeks forever. It is a great start for your Erasmus period in Slovenia. Everything is very well organised and you get answers for all your questions, thanks for the best coordinator Veronika! Many things made the EILC course so special: interesting trips all over Slovenia, nice student dormitory, all the funny events, the town itself and most importantly people there: nice and funny teachers/coordinator and especially all the other students. I got so much new great friends in EILC and experienced a lot of different things with them. That’s why I’m happy that I chose Nova Gorica as a host town of my EILC. So if you wanna feel the same, I will recommend Nova Gorica for you!

  4. florianpeters says

    Hey everyone!
    Erasmus in Ljubljana is great, but it wouldn’t be half as great without EILC-course in Nova Gorica!!! I met so many new friends there, we really formed a homogenous group of partypeople from all over Europe (and Africa 😉 ), i have never expected such a great time when i heard that i am in for the EILC course in Nova Gorica. Next to the awesome people i met, the language course was fun and interesting (because of very nice teachers), and the trips we made, organized by our amazing coordinator Veronica Piccini, were just over the top! The students dormitory is very modern, clean, comfortable and near to the faculty. Whenever you had the slightest problem or difficulty, the teachers and coordinator Veronica were there for you helping you and solving every problem. I talked with people who did EILC in Ljubljana instead of Nova Gorica, and it just could not compete at all with all the great stuff we did there. So guys if you are not sure where to go on EILC in Slovenia, GO TO NG!

  5. rutaauglyte says

    EILC course is the best part of Erasmus. Nova Gorica EILC course was great, awesome, amazing and all other good words 🙂 I spent my best days there. The greatest thing was our coordinator – Veronika!!! She is wonderful, very helpful and I do believe she inspired everyone to feel like at home in Nova Gorica. Veronika organized lots of trips and it inspired our group to become very good friends. It was very sad to leave each other and to go in other cities. Also,our teachers were very friendly, so lectures were interesting and fun. If someone will ask me, where to go to EILC I definitely recommend Nova Gorica, because as I heard in other cities nobody organized trips and other fun activities. Also Veronika is just in Nova Gorica – it is a pleasure to meet such a person!!!