The school has been organised for many years now by the University of Zagreb and the Croatian Heritage Foundation and will be attended this year by twenty-eight people participants

The Standard Croatian Language will be in the focus of learning at this year’s University School of Croatian Language & Culture for twenty-eight attendees from seventeen European and oversees countries. The school was declared open on Monday the 26th of June at the rectorate of the University of Zagreb, where rector Damir Boras welcomed the participants.

The university school is targeted to young people of Croatian extraction and all other students who wish to learn about Croatia, acquire or broaden their knowledge of our country and learn or perfect their Croatian. This will be the mission over the coming four weeks for the teachers and twenty-eight attendees from seventeen European and oversees countries – Argentina, Australia, Austria, Cyprus, Chile, France, Italy, Canada, Hungary, Germany, Russia, the United States of America, Scotland, Switzerland, Ukraine, Uruguay and Great Britain.

The school has been organised for many years now by the University of Zagreb and the Croatian Heritage Foundation. As in previous years the participants will benefit from scholarships from partner universities of Croatia’s largest university. This year the school will be attended by ten recipients of scholarships from the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (Ukraine), the University of Klagenfurt (Austria), the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (Chile), the Filip Kaušić Institute (Austria), the University of Glasgow (Scotland), Macquarie University (Australia), the Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada).

The school programme is diverse and focuses on an academic programme covering 120 classroom lessons (105 mandatory and 15 elective classroom sessions).

Language instruction consists of separate lessons in grammar and lectures, with Croatian language proficiency divided into three levels – beginner (1, 2, 3), intermediate (1, 2, 3) and advanced (1, 2). The academic portion of the programme will be staged at classrooms in the building of the office for international cooperation of the University of Zagreb, at No.8 Zvonimirova street.

The Croatian Heritage Foundation is responsible for the Croatian culture and history segment, which will cover academic and in-the-field lectures on Croatian culture and history, expert guided visits to museums, galleries, art exhibitions, culture and science institutions, theatre productions and concerts, meetings with leading Croatian artists and study visits to the Zagorje region and the Plitvice Lakes.
The rector was joined in his welcome, with wishes that the participants find the school both rewarding and enjoyable, by acting Croatian Heritage Foundation director Mirjana Ana-Maria Piskulić and the head of the University School of Croatian Language & Culture professor Zrinka Jelaska.

Jelaska pointed to the fact that the “mother’s tongue” would be studied, i.e. a language of repetition and slow elocution, explaining that the teacher’s method, the method of instruction, was in fact similar to this “mother’s” way of speaking, as it avoids the propensity of native speakers – who are not experts in teaching languages – to feel that those learning a foreign language do not understand the concept inherent in a language, and who, besides, simply speak too fast.

Acting director Mirjana Piskulić caught this point, noting that, “Croatians are patience-challenged,” encouraging them to approach this demanding task by “awaking the child inside, and that the participants of Croatian extraction awake the genes inside.”