Ilona Sābera – portfolio

blogging, journalism, semiotics, short stories


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Guide on social security benefits in Latvia and EU

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For several months I was involved in an EU communication project on developing a reader-friendly guide on social security benefits and social security contributions. It was an opportunity to learn in detail about the EU social security systems which still greatly vary in each member state and understand the reasons socially vulnerable people take a decision to leave Latvia. Continue reading

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Getting out of your comfort zone

Sharing our stories

I am going to tell you my story that brought me here, because I believe that we can build a common European future just starting from a personal level. So to share Europe, first we must share our stories.

Discovering people and places

Latvia’s territory is bigger than Belgium, but we are just 2 million people. So after knowing everybody in my country, I decided that I need to travel. I wanted to expand my worldview and just followed opportunities. Soon I realized that far more important than seeing monuments in European capitals is exploring personalities and lifestyles of people living there. And thanks to a really wonderful people I met on my way, I got inspired to move on. Actually it started when I was 15 and I took part in European Commission’s Youth Exchange programme were I spent unforgettable 9 days in Lithuanian countryside with the best people I could imagine. It was quite tough, we had to take a shower in the nearest sauna and cooked our dinner on the fire, but still I met so nice and funny Italian group that inspired me to start learning Italian. And finally after 5 years I fulfilled my dream and went to Erasmus to Italy and latter I continued my masters studies there. Continue reading


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Videos for European Commission’s DG of Interpreation

Visitors to the 2012 Job Day talk about their experiences of trying out interpreting in our practice booths.

What are the social and health benefits of learning languages and how can speaking several languages make life more interesting? We interviewed Itesh Sachdev, professor of Language and Communication at SOAS University of London. His research focusses on the benefits of multilingualism.


Did you know about the complexities of multilingualism in Malta? English, Maltese and even Italian are all used to communicate with other islanders. There have been significant changes in the status of the Maltese language since Malta joined the EU: “We didn’t have a culture of translation. The fact that Maltese is an official language [of the EU] has created something which actually didn’t happen before. I think it has given Maltese more status in peoples’ minds. It is no longer the language of the poor and uneducated. I think the ideal for a country like Malta, which is tiny, is that our heritage should be a heritage of bilingualism. We should be giving our children a possibility of growing up with a minimum of two languages, which for us was always a reality,” explains Dr Sandra Vella, senior lecturer at the Institute of Linguistics, University of Malta. To find out more, watch our interview with Dr Vella and Professor Ray Fabri, Chairman of the Institute of Linguistics at the University of Malta.

Arabic might not be an easy language to learn, but it can lead to many opportunities in the West and the East. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations and has 295 million native speakers worldwide. In Europe there is an interest in learning more about Islamic culture and tradition; learning Arabic is an integral part of this. “Language can open paths for understanding and for dialogue between world’s civilizations” comments Dr Imran Alawiye, the author of ‘Gateway to Arabic’, a series of textbooks for teachers and students.