From 16 October to 20 October 2023, the interdisciplinary International Language Week (ILW) including Intercultural Communication took place in Porto, Portugal. It was organised by the Porto Accounting and Business School (ISCAP), which belongs to the TH-AB partner university Polytechnic Institute of Porto (IPP), in cooperation with the Language Centre and the Institute for Intercultural Communication of Aschaffenburg UAS.
Initiated in 2015 by Prof. Dr. Renate Link, the International Language Week has so far been held at partner universities in Taipei/Taiwan, Billings/Montana (USA), Seinäjoki/Finland and Athens/Greece, in addition to Aschaffenburg UAS (3x). Due to this rotation principle, the ILW network cross-fertilises itself every year. It always benefits from new impulses due to the changing geographical location of the organising university and its national language or culture.
The theme of the 2023 ILW was "LinguaCulture² – Rethinking Language and Culture in the Digital Era". It offered around 60 participants from all over the world a suitable framework for the expansion of existing cooperation, but also for the formation of new intercultural and interdisciplinary partnerships.
Prof. Dr. Renate Link during her opening speech
Keynote Speaker Björn Nyström
Increasing digitalisation can also be observed in the linguistic-intercultural field. This was taken into account in the keynote speech by Björn Nyström from the renowned Swedish Uppsala University entitled "Erasmus+ SkillMill – Bringing Hidden International Skills to Light with Game Design" as well as in workshops in the language and interpretation laboratory of the ISCAP, giving the hosts university the opportunity to show the participants their special competence in this area and to comprehensively present their profile.
The ILW programme included a total of more than 30 scientific lectures, innovative practical reports, interactive workshops and, for the first time, poster presentations in the four conference languages German, English, Portuguese and Spanish. This expansion of ILW to a fourth language reflects the European idea of multilingualism, which is also found in the Bavarian Higher Education Innovation Act (BayHIG).
Participants were both established and young researchers from the following disciplines:
- Intercultural Communication
- Foreign language didactics
- Inclusive and Multimedia Communication
- Translation and Interpreting Studies
- Multilingual Competence
- Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
The 2023 ILW covered various areas from linguistics in the traditional sense and didactics to intercultural issues and application orientation. It was also characterised by the mixture of different subject perspectives. This made the International Language Week particularly enriching and inspiring again this year.
The ILW in Porto was rounded off by a cultural social programme with highlights such as a boat tour on the Douro and a visit to a port wine cellar.
The presence of scientists at different career stages enriched the 2023 ILW to a special degree. This presence made it once again an important venue for the communication of results from research and development projects with linguistic and/or intercultural relevance.
As at the 2022 ILW in Athens, TH AB Master's students presented selected best-practice project work with international relevance from the module "International Competencies: Intercultural Cooperation and Communication" of the TH AB Master's programme International Management in Porto on behalf of their teams. In the spring semester of 2023, they were given the task of preparing a poster contribution for a real conference and thus received wildcards, subsidised by the Stiftungsamt Aschaffenburg, for their baptism of fire at the ILW. Two cooperative doctoral students who are doing their doctorates under Prof. Dr. Link at the TH-AB Institute for Intercultural Communication and the TU Darmstadt were again involved with their own contributions. They were supported by funds from the iDok (interdisciplinary doctoral college of Aschaffenburg UAS). Another speaker was Marcel Rother, TH AB lecturer for special tasks and doctoral student at the University of Vaasa. Due to the fact that Portuguese students from the ISCAP participated in the conference in addition to master's and doctoral students from the ILW network as part of Internationalisation@Home, the concept of promoting young academics at ILW was successfully consolidated.
The initiator of the ILW and co-organiser of the ILW in Porto, Professor Link, conducted a workshop on understanding and promoting intercultural resilience with a colleague from TH AB's Japanese partner university, Aoyama Gakuin University.
It is foreseen to publish selected ILW contributions as conference proceedings in the online journal Polissema https://parc.ipp.pt/index.php/Polissema of ISCAP, which will further increase the visibility of the ILW and consolidate its scientific claim.
The call for applications for the venue of the 2024 ILW is still open, before ILW 2025 returns to its home in Aschaffenburg in time for its 10th anniversary. In 2026, it will then be hosted by the South Korean Sungshin University in Seoul. Further information on the ILW in Porto can be found here: