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A VIRTUAL CHALLENGE: ENGLISH-SPANISH LEARNING EXCHANGE BETWEEN AUSTRALIAN AND SPANISH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

T. Fernández1, J. Santiago1, A. Tomaino2, M. del Río1, A. Casaravilla1

1Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
2Macquarie University (AUSTRALIA)
Language learning and teaching methodologies in the last years have evolved from traditional approaches based on classroom interaction to new perspectives that incorporate different environments, media and backgrounds. Following on from a mutual collaboration between the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid and the Macquarie University of Sydney, the ‘Virtual Exchange’ project has come into existence with a view to promoting international cooperation between the two universities, in this case by offering students the opportunity of improving their knowledge of English and Spanish respectively. To that end, each participant from one university was matched to a ‘pen-pal’ in the other university. On the first state, both participants have been required to complete a number of writing and speaking tasks on a variety of issues dealing with everyday situations, with the description of emblematic sites and buildings or with career prospects, depending on their level, so that the Australian students revise and correct the Spanish students’ writing assignments in English and the Spanish students correct and give feedback to the Australian students in Spanish. The project is now at a first stage; however, results point out that the experience is proving successful on both parts.