Accessibility statement

Intercultural Peer Assisted Learning (Intercultural PAL)

Intercultural PAL sessions running all year for Arabic, Chinese, Italian, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and/or English

Participate in IPAL to practise conversation and learn about/ discuss cultural topics & current issues

IPAL information slides and semester 2 timetable

What is Intercultural PAL?

Intercultural PAL is a support scheme where University students, who are native speakers, facilitate support sessions for language students to enhance their understanding of the language/-s and culture/-s they study.

The sessions are usually conducted in the target language to practise conversation. However, as the focus of Intercultural PAL sessions lies on the cultural aspects (traditions & habits, current affairs, music, history, etc.), our lingua franca, English, will also be used.

Intercultural PAL sessions are free, run weekly, and take place within a friendly and informal environment.

There is no need to register to attend the sessions: just turn up whenever you are available. You can join for the whole hour and at any time during the session.

Testimonials from last year's IPAL Leaders

"I have been a Spanish IPAL leader for the last two academic years, and I think I've gained experience in preparing and running the sessions. I really like telling students about the culture, films, politics, cuisine, places, etc. of my country, as well as helping them develop their speaking skills by coming out with fun and interesting topics and games. I am a very organised, motivated and hardworking student who enjoys giving back to the University and helping other students. Moreover, I have developed communication skills through my previous three years at university: being an IPAL leader, being part of the Spanish Society committee, and as part of my studies. Something I think is particularly important for IPAL sessions is to engage students in what's being discussed and have a friendly environment to make it easy for them to weigh in the conversation."

Fernando Vázquez López
‌‌ “I am a reliable and proactive person that loves to meet new people and make friends from different cultural backgrounds. Professionally speaking, I am deeply committed to Argentine archaeology research, teaching and outreach. In fact, my current MSCA project is about the early uses of pottery among Patagonian hunter-gatherers! I am also fond of Argentine history - specifically about our Spanish and Italian roots - and most of our traditions, such as drinking mate - Argentine “shared tea”- and cooking the best Asado - Argentine “barbecue”- you will ever have. 

As an IPAL Leader, I will do my best to create a friendly environment where everyone feels welcome. A place where we can talk about any topic, from cutting-edge archaeology and history to cooking recipes.

Alejandro Serna

"I am very interested in getting to know other people and in discussing current topics. Furthermore, my German is very good, I can speak High German as well as a Bavarian dialect. I am always up to date with what is happening in the world and in Germany and can express myself with clarity. My communicative skills, as well as my social skills, are of a high standard. I would really like to teach other students a bit about German and Bavarian culture."

Jakob Schweiger

"I have attended conversation classes for Italian before and had a lot of fun, so I'd love to pass on that experience. As I grew up in the south of Germany and live in Cologne now, I have a lot to say about different cultures and dialects, about festive traditions and about youth in the countryside as well as the city. I have tremendous respect for people who willingly take on studying German and would love to help them pursue that path. Since elementary school I have received nothing but excellent marks in German and experience in literature/media analysis and in conversation practice with non-native speakers. Since I also study modern history I can answer questions about culture, history, society, and language. I'd like to bring in news articles, book excerpts or video clips about current events or well-known cultural staples and help others get a deeper insight into the language and culture.

Anja Schneider

"I believe that teaching and sharing knowledge are two of the most intimate forms of relationships that we can establish as human beings. I believe in the change and the growth that this type of relationship will lead. I have "taught" in different fields. I have been a swimming instructor for people of all ages, especially my peers. This experience has allowed me to develop skills such as planning in advance and flexibility, other than to get to know the person to whom I am teaching and their needs. I am also a tutor of the freshmen of my course of study. I provide them with academic and emotional support in the subjects addressed. I am also a very patient and cheerful girl, who tries to put others at ease, likes sharing and is a good-listener. I like to research and use methods that are engaging and inclusive, and that are as interactive as possible. But, above all, I always try to create a safe environment for learners."

Chiara Rametta

"I am in my first year at uni and everything is a new experience for me. Quite frankly, I have been looking for some challenges and opportunities that would allow me to grow professionally and socially for the past two years or so and I am willing to do this. Speaking for myself, this activity would allow me to learn how to speak to a small audience trying to find the best way to deliver a message. But that is not all because I would be developing some new technological skills too. I also believe that this may be a good opportunity to give to other people, who are coming from different backgrounds, some interesting knowledge and curiosity about my country that it may be quite hard to find on websites. It could be a good chance to have an intercultural exchange discussing perks and drawbacks of the culture, and why not maybe even doing some comparison with other cultures. It is probably a good way to broaden my knowledge as well as open our minds. Isn't that the main purpose of going to university?"

Matteo Fabrizi



"I am a visiting student in the Department of Politics. Two years ago I was partnered with a student from the University of Sydney, Australia, as part of a Japanese-English language and cultural exchange program online. First, we taught each other our mother tongue, giving me experience in teaching both written and oral Japanese. As we got to know each other better, we shared our countries' cultures, everyday life, and even serious topics such as natural disasters and politics. We met online once a week for 30 minutes. It lasted around 18 months. I would like to organise activities that I think would be interesting and beneficial to deepen the students’ understanding of the many different aspects of Japanese culture."

Wakana Nishida


"I’m an international student from Japan and like to talk with many international friends about the differences in our culture. I worked as a Japanese teacher last year because I hoped to give many people an opportunity to learn the Japanese language. During my teaching experience, I found many of the students facing difficulties to acquire the Japanese language due to the difference in culture or national characteristics. Even if we share a word or its equivalent, the way or the situation to use it may not be the same, so there are many cases where direct translation doesn’t make sense to us. Therefore, I not only began to learn the cultural background of the use of important words and idioms but also tried to be knowledgeable about Japanese history, festivals, politics, and foods."

Sayaka Chino


"I hope to develop skills as an early stage researcher, and would like to inspire and help people to express their opinions based on experience. I have work and study experience in different countries and different cities in China. I am interested in many topics, such as social issues and challenges, politics, economics, and am keen to share it with Chinese students attending IPAL sessions."

Chunhua Chen


"I was the leader of the English Corner during my undergraduate studies and was responsible for organising and hosting various activities ranging from office hours and festival parties such as Halloween and Christmas. For example, before an activity, I would draft the plan including the theme, topics, fun games, etc. The foreign teacher who was invited to join this activity would receive the plan so they could prepare the talk. Students would be announced the topics of the English Corner so that they could choose the themes they were interested in. During these activities, my role was as host, leading everyone to go to the next stage and helping them to enjoy these activities in an English environment. From my experience, I think that I’ll be a confident Intercultural PAL leader as I think that it can be similar to what I did before and I'm interested in different cultures so I'm glad to learn new things."

Lintong Xie

"I am a bilingual French and English speaker, with a high amount of energy and enthusiasm. As a neurodivergent woman I can appreciate that the typical/ traditional way of teaching is not always the ideal or most accessible, therefore I am very receptive and understanding of others and will help everyone achieve their full potential when speaking, understanding, and using foreign languages. 

To me being multilingual is a gift since it allows me to deeply understand another culture which is not entirely achievable to those who do not speak the language, and thus I wish to help others gain a further understanding of the French language and culture."

Isabelle Cara Dale

For general queries about the scheme, contact the MFL PAL & Intercultural PAL Coordinator: