Bringing Innovation to Language Learning for Migrants and Refugees

In the midst of the refugee crisis four years ago, representatives of various religions met at the Berlin residence of H.S.H. Prince Stefan of Liechtenstein, the Ambassador of Liechtenstein to Germany at the time. During the meeting, participants discussed ways to improve the linguistic integration of refugees into European society. The final product of the meeting was the creation of a language course project named ‘Liechtenstein Languages’, also called LieLa for short. The LieLa project was developed in Liechtenstein by the “Neues Lernen” association, which has been producing innovative learning methods for decades.

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Since its inception in 2015, LieLa has helped to integrate over 10,000 migrants into German-speaking countries. The project’s goal is to make a positive contribution to society by aiding in the integration of refugees and migrants. LieLa language courses aim to support migrants by helping them to become both linguistically and socially oriented in German-speaking countries.

The LieLa program’s success can be attributed to its application of a learning method called “Neues Lernen”(New Learning) that emphasizes verbal communication skills. It also promotes a supportive learning environment that encourages participants to interact with their new surroundings. Course participants typically begin with a four-week-long foundational course in which they focus on learning new vocabulary and communicating on a basic level. They are then able to take additional courses such as “LieLa Alpha”, which teaches reading and writing skills, and “LieLa Plus”, which is designed for labor market integration.

Liechtenstein Languages is especially effective because it has adopted its own system for training teachers on how to instruct a language course. Through this train-the-trainer concept, teachers or social workers partake in a two-week-long seminar in which they learn how to teach using LieLa’s “Neues Lernen” method. This system of training makes LieLa both cost-effective and sustainable.

The first Liechtenstein Languages Congress was held from June 22nd to 24th in Malbun, Liechtenstein. The event attracted around 100 participants, most of which were language teachers, school officials, politicians, and “Neues Lernen” association members. The convention featured skills workshops for teachers and introduced two advanced LieLa courses. Foreign Minister Aurelia Frick praised the convention as a way to showcase positive examples of refugee integration and share best practices between German-speaking countries.

The LieLa program is sponsored by the Princely House and the Government of Liechtenstein, as well as the Liechtenstein Languages Foundation and the “Neues Lernen” association in Vaduz.