Interactive Latvian language learning methods are used in the conversation language club “Es gribu ar tevi parunāt” (I Want to Talk to You).

Within the activities of the Planning Period 2021-2027 of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, under activity 13.2 “Integration of third-country nationals into local society, promoting opportunities for the use and acquisition of the Latvian language,” the 4th activity of the project “My Latvian Language Portfolio”, No. PMIF/13.2./2023/1/10, the Conversation Language Club “I want to talk to you” aims to promote the motivation of third-country nationals to use the Latvian language in diverse daily and official situations, and to enhance the communication skills necessary for successful communication in Latvian. This is achieved by providing an informal and inclusive environment for language use and by fostering intercultural communication competence within the framework of programme.

The Conversation Language Club invites relatives of third-country nationals and Latvian language speakers, including well-known representatives from various fields such as public, education, culture, and health sectors, to participate in the sessions. Real-life situations are simulated, providing the target audience with the opportunity to use and develop their personal experience in discussing relevant topics. Each session is designed to help participants master communication skills, engage in discussions on various compelling topics, learn to overcome language barriers, and feel confident in expressing one’s opinions.

The methodology of the Conversation Language Club has been developed by the project’s pedagogical leader, Maija Burima. Within the project, diverse and original teaching materials for the Conversation Language Club have been created to correspond to the theme, format, and language proficiency level of the sessions. The methodology of the Conversation Language Club systematically integrates findings from current international research on foreign language acquisition.

In February 2024, the Conversation Language Club sessions of the “Latvian Language Portfolio” project took place, featuring guest speakers – experts who have demonstrated outstanding and lasting performance in their professional fields.

In the remote sessions of the Conversation Language Club, Latvian film director, actor, recipient of the Order of the Three Stars, and Honorary Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences Jānis Streičs participated as a guest. The participants of the Conversation Language Club were pleasantly excited about this event and had prepared extensively for it – they had watched J. Streičs’ films, familiarized themselves with his biography, and prepared questions for the esteemed guest. The sessions took place in two separate remote Conversation Language Club groups, with each session conducted differently – J. Streičs’ narrative varied, adapting to the level of Latvian language proficiency of each group. He used simple words and sentence structures to talk about his habits and preferences, thereby introducing himself more widely.

During the Conversation Language Club sessions, the participants not only enriched their vocabulary but also expanded their knowledge of a significant component of Latvian cultural heritage – Jānis Streičs’ films. The interactivity of the sessions was enhanced by teaching materials, including video clips from J. Streičs’ films in the tasks. A special atmosphere was created at the end of the session through a joint activity of deciphering and singing the lyrics of the song “Vālodzīte” together. J. Streičs’ narrative about the inclusion of the song “Vālodzīte” in the film “Limuzīns Jāņu nakts krāsā” and other interesting facts about the film-making process complemented the content of the sessions. Several participants shared their emotions after the session and admitted that, surprisingly, their language barrier disappeared due to the excitement, allowing them to ask questions to the expert quite freely and without many errors. At the end, Jānis Streičs praised the high level of Latvian language proficiency among the Conversation Language Club participants, as some of them, in his opinion, spoke very well and almost without any accent. All the participants of the Conversation Language Club perceived such feedback as a great compliment, which strengthened their confidence in the significantly improved Latvian language skills within the project.

Meanwhile, participants of the in-person Conversation Language Club had the opportunity to meet an eminent scientist – Professor at the University of Tartu, Associate Professor at the University of Latvia, and Doctor of Biology, Indriķis Krams. During the sessions, through various tasks and conversational games, the expert shared insights into his daily routine and habits, reinforcing the language usage skills of the club participants – including telling time, past tense verb forms, accusative case, and more.

Volunteer language speakers provided significant support to the target audience of the project by explaining the meaning of new words and assisting in the enhancement of communicative competences. Third-country nationals, with the help of language speakers, participated in a conversational game called “Where Does It Live?” and described the photographs from I. Krams’ personal archive. Listening skills were improved by listening to the professor’s vivid memories of his travels. A positive atmosphere prevailed during the Conversation Language Club sessions, with the participants asking I. Krams questions about how he became a scientist, his life values, as well as engaging in discussions on topics related to healthy lifestyles and ecology.

Both in-person and remote Conversation Language Club groups were visited by an expert in environmental matters Juris Soms, the Head of the Daugavpils Sector of Latgale Region Amelioration Department, Associate Professor at Daugavpils University, and Doctor of Geological Sciences. His proposed topic “Green Lifestyle – Does it Mean Living Green?” not only addressed environmental issues but also enriched the Latvian language skills of the Conversation Language Club participants. The target audience of the project was captivated by the integrated materials developed by J. Soms on Latvian language and environmental exploration. J. Soms’ narrative about his experience as a guide, as well as the determination of the ecological footprint distribution, contributed to the positive emotional atmosphere within the club.

In the first phase of implementing “My Latvian Language Portfolio” project, four sessions of each of the Conversation Language Club groups “I want to talk to you” were conducted, with each group having 32 hours of instruction at levels A1 and A2, both in-person and remotely. Having accomplished each Conversation Language Club session, the third-country nationals were invited to participate in a survey to provide feedback on the organization, content, and other factors of the sessions. In total, 46 respondents participated in the survey, providing responses to 19 questions. Analyzing the survey results, it should be noted that 76% of respondents stated that participating in the Conversation Language Club sessions significantly increased their motivation to use the Latvian language in daily communication, in domestic situations, and in interactions with state and municipal institutions. Additionally, they reported improvement in expanding their vocabulary and competence in using communicative phrases. All respondents believe that the psychological atmosphere and collaboration at all levels during the sessions were positive. Moreover, the majority acknowledged that participating in the Conversation Language Club sessions stimulated their integration into the Latvian society.

Within the survey, the respondents were invited to share their experience stories. Fourteen respondents mentioned that they frequently watch Latvian television broadcasts, read periodicals in Latvian, and listen to the Latvian radio. Four respondents noted that after meeting the film director Jānis Streičs, they became interested in Latvian cinema. One respondent mentioned that he has started to delve into written texts and advertisements in Latvian and got interested in cultural events happening in the Latvian language. Another respondent wrote that he has begun conversing with his neighbor in Latvian. One respondent believes that he needs to continue learning so that he can communicate with his daughter in the future.

It is planned that by the end of June 2024, Conversation Language Club sessions will have been implemented for groups at A2 and B1 levels.

The Conversation Language Club is organized within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund’s activities for the planning period 2021-2027, under activity 13.2 “Integration of third-country nationals into local society, promoting opportunities for the use and acquisition of the Latvian language,” as part of the project “My Latvian Language Portfolio,” No. PMIF/13.2./2023/1/10.


This publication has been made with the support of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

Daugavpils University Association for Lifelong Learning, Cultural, and Scientific Communication “Intellect Park” is responsible for the content of the publication. The publication was prepared and posted on March 8, 2024.