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Germany, Georgia and the EU: An exchange between law students who are learning English

Screenshot of a Zoom-Meeting on the right and Wordcloud of COIL on the left
Source: Zessko, ZfQ

In the 2023 summer semester, law students from the University of Potsdam and the University of Georgia, Tbilisi, took part in a COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) project. The theme of the project was the European Union. As both groups were taking English classes, the common language was English. The project was organised by two English for Law teachers: Tom Heaven from the University of Potsdam and Nana Ghonghadze from the University of Georgia.

The central goal of the exchange encompassed more than bringing together law students from different countries. Developing language skills necessary for students to discuss a topic important to but viewed differently by each society was a also key. While in Europe the EU is often the target of strong criticism in the political arena, citizens in Georgia have been demonstrating for Georgia to join the EU.

The students came together in online classes to learn about EU law and the European institutions and to develop important subject-related vocabulary. After getting to know each other, they discussed the EU and formed groups, so that they could prepare for the final class in which they jointly gave 15 minute talks. The topics were chosen and prepared by the students outside the set classes.

In addition to the COIL project, another 60 Potsdam law students took part in three single online exchanges with students of the University of Georgia. They got to know each other and spent time discussing the legal and educational systems in Germany and Georgia. In past semesters similar exchanges had taken place with universities in Australia, Columbia, Ukraine and Bhutan.

For the coming semester, a similar project with the topic “Joining the EU, leaving the EU and disciplinary measures against member states” is being planned.

Contact: Tom Heaven
Published on 6 Sept. 2023