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Dee Herbert and Ranko Tripkovic of the FIS PTG Language Cafés
PTG Language Cafés
Peer Language Support for Multi-Lingual Parents
It is amazing that a little berry from the mountains of Ethiopia, then cul- tivated in the southern Arabic
Peninsula, has spread all over the world and helped to create here in Europe a unique venue known as the Café, Coffee House or Cafeneion. Since the 17th century, be it in a café that is chic or humble, people have enjoyed drinking this brew that ap- pears to stimulate ideas, imagination and conversation!
This phenomenon is exactly what a group of parents is capitalizing upon, with the PTG’s support, and bringing together adults with a passion for lan- guage. Frankfurt International School is a vast reservoir of spoken languages with more than 60 nationalities repre- sented. Many of us have learned or practiced a second or third language either as expatriates or in our previous lives as students. Although English is the common language in our school, you may have noticed that it’s not unusual to hear groups of parents
skipping from one language to another in the same conversation.
The FIS Language Cafe started when a group of four parents ( Dee Herbert, Ines Neuss, Geni Saiz and Ranko Tripkovic) decided to propose to the community a monthly coffee gatherings where conversation would be held in English, German, Spanish and French. Offering the opportunity to practice a language in an informal environment while enjoying the com- pany of other parents was well received. The simple format of the gatherings is to practice a language with the aim to become comfortable through exposure to specific, relevant vocabulary and topics.
Started last September, the Lan- guage Cafés have already had multiple sessions of each language, bringing together diverse groups that have dif- ferent backgrounds and level of lan- guage expertise. The German Café, for instance, is hosting more than 15
participants from beginners to advanced levels, the English Café is popular with the Korean community, and the Spanish and the French Cafés are people that once have lived or studied in Spain or France.
These gatherings are not formal lessons as much as they are simply encouraging foreign language interac- tion in a friendly way (cakes and cook- ies are welcome!). Participants join with the belief that practicing a second language often opens doors to better cross culture understanding.
FIS may not have a Starbucks to offer parents, but feel free to join one of our monthly PTG Language Cafés held in the US cafeteria. Join us for a cup of Qahwah, Khave, Coffee, or Café and this special brew will also help warm up your language skills!
Ranko Tripkovic, FIS Parent
February 2015 FIS World 5

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