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The first offline partners meeting in Volos, Greece

It’s already hard to believe that in the beginning of the week on March 14th representatives of all organisations met for the first time in person. Some of us were a bit lost to find our way to the venue organised by the University of Thessaly, however, we could enjoy some spectacular exhibits of The Rooftile and Brickworks Museum N. & S. Tsalapatas. This little adventurer was fully rewarded by seeing familiar faces in person. Everybody enjoyed a live chat, coffee with delicious Greek pastries and welcoming sunshine.

Greece is a very welcoming country, many people speak English, however, we still needed to practise translanguaging as well in small taverns and local shops. Body language, Google translate, finding support in other languages and experiences, all these practices helped a lot to communicate. During our meeting we also found out about translanguaging from Sociolinguistics point of view, learnt more and shared with the team our experiences of linguistic insecurities and discovered pedagogical practices used in school and at working places to encourage active participation within the group of learners of workers. We discussed challenges that facilitators and workers face in order to implement new practices in the conservative environment, and possible solutions.

It’s clear for us that our work is very valuable and needed especially when people's migration is increasing and more people require techniques to feel more confident in unfamiliar environments or help others to feel welcome. Koopkultur members decided to start personal translanguaging diaries, where some practices, challenges and achievements will be recorded. Stay tuned and follow the hashtag #translanguagingdiaries in this blog. Thank you, our amazing Greek team for organising the meeting! We’ll remember Volos, its beautiful sunsets, tasty food, hospitality and spectacular nature sights.

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