11 people in the Basque diaspora to study Basque language in Lazkao
Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.
Eleven people from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay will spend two months at the Maizpide barnetegi in Lazkao to improve their level of Euskara as part of the Etxepare Basque Institute’s ‘Euskara Munduan’ programme. The group started learning Basque from scratch in 2013. After completing this intensive full-immersion course, they will go back home to teach Euskara at their own Euskal Etxeak Basque centers in Argentina (Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Necochea, San Nicolás, Tres Arroyos and Villa María), Chile (Santiago) and Uruguay (Montevideo).
The 20-person group (11 of whom have come to the Basque Country) has been studying Euskara for eight years, alternating periods of in-class with online learning. The students have done 36 sessions each year on their own through HABE´s online platform Ikasten and have taken part in two 52-hour in-person barnetegis (full-inmmersion courses) each year in Argentina. In total, they have spent between 1,200 and 1,600 hours learning Basque. After taking exams in 2019 in Buenos Aires to certify their level of Euskara, they were awarded either B1 and B2 certificates. The aim is to reach the next level of Basque during their stay in Lazkao: those with B2 level Basque will do level C1; and those with B1 will go for B2 certification. The students will follow the Maizpide programme and will join the groups already studying at the school. Although the initial idea was for the students to stay with Basque-speaking families, the Covid-19 pandemic has made this impracticable, and therefore they will be housed in the Maizpide dormitory, ensuring all safety measures.
The Etxepare Basque Institute promotes Basque language learning at Basque centers around the world through the Euskara Munduan programme. The programme was born out of Argentinan Euskaraz, a project set up in 1990 to revitalize the Basque language in Basque centers in Argentina. Years later, the programme extended to Basque centers in other countries and became known as Euskara Munduan. The Etxepare Basque Institute has been running the programme since 2018, funding Euskara classes at Basque centers around the world, supplying teaching materials, organizing language level certification exams, and helping train Basque teachers since in many cases the centers have to prepare their own teaching staff. Around 2,000 people around the world are learning Euskara at courses offered at Basque centers with support from Etxepare. Likewise, around 1,900 more people will take Basque language classes through the Basque studies programmes promoted by Etxepare at 35 universities worldwide.
For many years the Basque centers affiliated with FEVA (Federation of Argentine Basque Organizations) have wanted to offer the chance to complete the teacher training programme in the Basque Country. Indeed, this request was conveyed to the Lehendakari on his 2018 trip to Argentina. After a year´s delay due to the pandemic, the opportunity has finally come in 2021.