This term, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures welcomed our new teaching assistant in Basque, Marina Balenciaga. Marina is 26 and from Azkoitia, a little town in the heart of the Basque Country. As well as teaching her mother tongue, Marina is an editor and audiovisual translator. She has recently been interviewed by a magazine from her hometown, and here we have a summary of it.

Do you think it is important for people to learn about the Basque language outside of the Basque Country?

Yes, I do. The Basque language is one of the oldest languages in Europe, and so it constitutes a rich cultural heritage for all European people. It is difficult sometimes to have the resources to teach Basque outside of the Basque Country, but I think there should be at least the opportunity to make it known, because many people don’t know that a different language is spoken in the Basque Country apart from Spanish.

How has your experience in the university been so far?

It’s my first time working in a university and teaching adults. Everything is new for me, I am immersed in a new system and I am honestly learning a lot. In addition, my colleagues and students are really nice and the experience has been great up to now.

So you are happy in Liverpool?

Yes, I am really happy. The city is very alive: there are lots of events and concerts, there is music everywhere ─as you would expect in the birthplace of The Beatles. The environment is wonderful. The thing that I most like so far is the people. They are nice, happy and friendly, and they are always helpful. For example, I have felt a lot of support from my students, because here they always show gratitude for your job. I feel that the people of Liverpool always offer support, in both the enjoyable and the more difficult situations. 

How long will you be in Liverpool for?

My scholarship ends in April 2017, and at that point, I will decide whether or not I wish to stay longer. 

Compared to the Basque Country, is the way of life there very different?

Yes and no. Being honest, it hasn’t been difficult for me to adapt to the life here. However, it is true that it is really cold here, but I am sure it won’t rain more than in the Basque Country!

The original interview in Basque is available at this link: http://urolakosta.hitza.eus/2016/12/09/marina-balenziaga-oro-har-euskara-oso-hizkuntza-zaila-delako-aurreiritzia-dute/

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