Parlez-vous français? Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Do you speak English? Oder Lëtzebuergesch? If you want to talk to the young woman or man at the nearby cafe table, first of all you have to find out what language they speak. That’s typical of Luxembourg! In the Grand Duchy, one of the founder states of the European Union, about 40 per cent of the 450,000 inhabitants are foreign.
Parlez-vous français? Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Do you speak English? Oder Lëtzebuergesch?
If you want to talk to the young woman or man at the nearby cafe table, first of all you have to find out what language they speak. That’s typical of Luxembourg! In the Grand Duchy, one of the founder states of the European Union, about 40 per cent of the 450,000 inhabitants are foreign.
This multicultural ambience of day-to-day contact with people from the four corners of the earth gives the small state an astonishingly cosmopolitan outlook – not least thanks to the European institutions and the financial centre. But of course it is far easier to get around the capital (80,000 inhabitants) than it is in Berlin or Paris. The distances are short, and you soon get to know your way round. There is a lively scene around the fashionable bars of Hollerich and Grund in the capital, or in the Rockhal and the Kulturfabrik at Esch / Alzette in the south of the country.
It’s worth mentioning that in 2007 a study by the University of Vienna comparing mediumsized cities in Europe, the capital took first place as a ‘smart city’ that is developing especially promisingly. The study looked at science, the environment and the standard of living, amongst other things. Of course, the standard of living includes a range of tempting leisure activities. And there are plenty of them in and around the capital: there are cinemas and climbing parks, sports and shopping centres, mountain bike trails and an enormous cultural range – from jazz in the mediaeval city to modern art at the MUDAM or theatre in every language or classical music in the most beautiful new building in Luxembourg, the Philharmonie. All this set against the romantic backdrop of the mediaeval city (a UNESCO world heritage site since 1994), green valleys, as well as the castles and palaces in the richly forested north of the country and the vineyards along the Mosel. Thank heavens for the holidays!
In 2003, right at the heart of the European Union, a new university was founded: the University of Luxembourg, the first and only university of the small state that sits between France, Germany and Belgium.
Teaching, research and knowledge transfer at the highest international level: those are the three ambitious goals that the University of Luxembourg set itself from the start. As one of the youngest universities in Europe, right from the start the University has made use of the upheaval in European university education and built directly on the Bologna system. It offers a range of high-quality Bachelor degree courses, however the teaching focus is always on Masters degree courses and PhDs.
Special attention is given to research which focuses on particularly promising areas. The academic staff members come from all round the world and work in interdisciplinary teams. The University of Luxembourg wants to serve the society and economy of the Grand Duchy as a place of reflection, and to develop into a motor of economic diversification.
Luxembourg is the headquarters of many European institutions, such as the European Court of Justice and the European Investment Bank, and is renowned for its international financial centre. Naturally, the University of Luxembourg makes use of these connections: about five hundred financial experts, legal experts and other practitioners support the professors in their teaching. The alumni and the research projects the University completes in turn benefits EU institutions, the financial centre and Luxembourg itself as an economic location with an attractive job market – a fruitful cooperation.
The University of Luxembourg is one of the few in the world to be deliberately structured as multilingual. So of course it makes sense to promote student exchange programmes ‘mobility’ as well. All undergraduates have to spend at least one semester abroad. In addition the University cooperates with partners in Europe, Asia and North America.
There’s no point looking for mass events at the University of Luxembourg. Everyone knows everyone else on campus. It is easy to get an overview of teaching and research activities; the lecturers are easy to reach. Many courses take place in the form of seminars, and the first undergraduate semester is guided in tutorials. Establishing a new educational institution is a thrilling challenge that demands vision and commitment. The rising numbers of students bear witness to the growing confidence in the University of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg’s multicultural flair – characterised by its many languages – is legendary. Students from ninety countries and lecturers from about twenty countries keep this flair alive on campus too. As a result, multilingual teaching is a key characteristic of the University of Luxembourg. This was the objective of the Higher Education Act, and it forms part of day-to-day studies for the students. The majority of the degrees are taught in at least two languages (French / German, English / French, English / German), however some Masters degrees are given purely in English. But don’t worry: the University offers new students foreign language courses. The chance to study in French, English and German in one and the same place: what a unique opportunity! After all, mastering foreign languages always means understanding other cultures better too. So alongside pure language skills, the students of the University of Luxembourg also gain a special flexibility, sophistication and open-mindedness. The reward for their efforts is a multilingual degree that provides the University’s graduates with clear advantage on the job market.