Raising Multilingual Children - 2016 Community Event

Planning Ahead for Higher Education: Choices for the Multilingual Child

A moderated discussion with a panel of experts.

Organized by the Barcelona Women’s Network (BWN) and English Language Association of Catalonia (ELACAT) in collaboration with Barcelona Activa.
Monday, 14 March 2016, 18:30  – 20:30
Barcelona Activa Auditorium, C/Llacuna 162, 08018  MAP

Thank you to everyone who participated in this event!

For useful links provided by some of our panelists, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Join us for our third community event on raising multilingual children.

Two four-person panels will focus on the transition from secondary to post secondary education with a special emphasis on interests and needs of heritage speakers of languages other than Spanish and Catalan.

The event will be held in English and geared towards the International Community, particularly parents of school age children.

The Barcelona Women’s Network (BWN) is a non-profit, non-religious, and non-political social and charitable organization offering support and friendship to both local and international women residing in the greater Barcelona area. Started by a small group of friends in 1998, the BWN has emerged into a dynamic and diverse group with an average membership of 220 women from over 20 different nationalities.



Barcelona Activa is integrated in the areas of Employment, Enterprise, and Tourism at Barcelona City Council; it is responsible for promoting the economic development of the city, designing and implementing employment policies for citizens and encouraging the development of a diversified local economy.


The English Language Association of Catalonia (ELACAT) is a nonprofit organization working to improve English language education in Catalonia. They believe that fostering a multilingual, cosmopolitan identity for children, both as learners and as future citizens, will be an immense benefit to Catalan society as it meets the challenges of a knowledge-based and globalized economy in English.

Meet Our Speakers, Panel Moderator And Panel Experts

John Stone, PhD
President of ELACAT

Dr John Stone is an Associate Professor in British literature at the University of Barcelona. In 2011 he helped found the English-speaking Children’s Parents’ Association of Catalunya, which carries out advocacy work on behalf of children who are native or heritage speakers of English. He lives in central Barcelona with his wife and two daughters.

Mario Rubert
Introductory Speaker
City Promotion Director, Barcelona Activa

Mario Rubert has been working at the Barcelona local government since 1993. Currently he is City Promotion Manager at Barcelona Activa, the Local Development Agency of Barcelona City Council and responsible for the city’s international marketing and economic promotion strategies.

Christine Mandojana
Opening Speaker
Wife of the U.S. Consul General for Barcelona

Christine Elsea Mandojana is a partner in a U.S. Certified Public Accounting firm specializing in U.S. expatriate tax and is the spouse of Marcos Mandojana, the U.S. Consul General in Barcelona. Christine and Marcos have served in five countries on three continents and in Washington, DC. They have two children, ages 9 and 13, who have attended local and international schools throughout their lives.

Bill Volchok - 1st Panel
Secondary Principal
American School of Barcelona

Bill Volchok has been Secondary Principal at the American School of Barcelona (ASB) for the past 18 years. He was instrumental in developing the first English language IB Diploma Program in Barcelona, along with creating balanced programs with the Spanish Bachillerato and American High School systems.

Robert Norris - 1st Panel
Head of English
Hamelin Laie International School

Robert Norris is the Head of English at Hamelin-Laie International. He teaches English Literature and Language in the National Baccalaureate and the English B course in the IB. He is also 1st IB tutor and assistant with their guidance counseling. He has taught philosophy A-levels, English for the national baccalaureate and has firsthand experience in both GCSE’s and A levels. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Spanish as well as an MA in Translation from the University of Bristol and a Master of Secondary Education at the University of Valencia.

Julie Harris - 1st Panel
Head Teacher
Oak House School

Julie Harris, Head Teacher of Oak House School in Barcelona, has a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Hertfordshire and an Advanced Diploma in Education from Homerton College, Cambridge. She was as a teacher in Hertfordshire before moving into an Advisory Teacher role, working as a member of a team assisting in the implementation of the National Curriculum. Julie has taught at Oak House School since 1991. She is also an inspector for the National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS).

William Knauer - 1st Panel
Head of School
Benjamin Franklin Intl School

William Knauer has been an educator for nearly 25 years. Before joining BFIS in July 2012, he worked at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York, serving as Assistant Head of School and Director of Technology and Computer Science. He has also held teaching positions internationally at St Clare’s College in Oxford, England, Munich International School in Munich, Germany, and Khartoum American School in Khartoum, Sudan. He holds a BA in Linguistics from the University of Michigan, an MA in Teaching English and ESL from the College of New Jersey, and an MA in English from Middlebury College.

Isabella Petith - 2nd Panel
Creativity & Society Projects Mgr
British Council

Isabella Petith has been working for the British Council for the last 12 years in the Programmes department, promoting UK Arts and Higher Education in the UK. She has co-organized the British Council Education Fair, which takes place every year in Barcelona and she has given talks on How to study in the UK. She is also the mother of a nine year old daughter who is trilingual.

Laura Marqués-Pascual - 2nd Panel
Language Program Director
Univ of California Santa Barbara

Dr. Laura Marqués-Pascual is the Language Program Director in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She has a degree in Hispanic Philology from the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), received her M.A. in TESL from the Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and her Ph.D. in Spanish Linguistics with a designated emphasis in Second Language Acquisition from the University of California, Davis. Her research interests include second language learning in study abroad settings and Spanish as a heritage language.

Robert Samarra Collins - 2nd Panel
Linguist, Translator, Teacher
Fluent in seven languages.

Robert Samarra Collins is a linguist, translator, writer and teacher who speaks seven languages. He is half British, half Catalan, went to a trilingual school in Barcelona and has a degree in Slavic Studies from the University of Vienna and a masters in Translation and Interpreting from the UAB. When not busy with language matters, Robert enjoys acting and playing tennis.

Rhonda Larson - 2nd Panel
Seasoned Expat
Mother of Five Expat Children

Rhonda and her husband are the parents of five children who have attended international schools. Besides living in America, they have spent a total of ten years in several European countries. Their children have gone on to attend American universities for undergraduate and graduate studies. Their youngest child graduated High School last spring from Benjamin Franklin International School in Barcelona and is now thriving as a Freshman at Southern Virginia University.

Useful Links Provided by Members of the Panels


http://www.educationuk.org/global/ – Information about living and studying  in the UK, links to universities, grants, studying English

http://www.educationuk.org/global/main/why-choose-a-uk-education/ – Why study in the UK.

www.prepareforsuccess.org.uk – Web for international students going to the UK to study – information about academic studies

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/ – University rankings

http://unistats.direct.gov.uk/ – Official website for comparing UK higher education course data

www.ukcisa.org.uk – Practical guide to studying in the UK

www.ucas.com – Your application to university and lots of information about studying in the UK

www.studential.com/guide/write_personal_statement.htm – Help to write your personal statement

www.gov.uk/student-finance/overview – Information about grants/loans

www.gov.uk/browse/education – General information about education in the UK

nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/Pages/Home.aspx – Advice on possible careers and study.

(Links provided courtesy of the British Council in Barcelona.)



You can ask for a Satement of Comparability to compare your qualifications with British qualifications.

(Link provided courtesy of the British Council in Barcelona.)

Blog de educación en el Reino Unido


Yes, you can study in the UK – Blog vy Carolina Jimenez, ‎Head Education and Society at British Council

(Link provided courtesy of the British Council in Barcelona.)

English Courses at the IEN!

ien2The Institut Nord-Americà (IEN) offers English classes for children and adults, including Business English and Teacher Training. 

View the IEN website – http://www.ien.es/ – for more information about their curriculum and their wide range of cultural programs.


http://www.educationuk.org/global/ – Drop down menu: boarding schools, pre-university

http://www.sbsa.org.uk/ – State boarding schools

https://www.gov.uk/national-curriculum/overview – For an overview of the English education system.

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/Schools/curriculum – For an overview of the Scottish education system

http://wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/schoolshome/curriculuminwales/arevisedcurriculumforwales/nationalcurriculum/?lang=en –  For an overview of the Welsh education system

http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/ – For an overview of the Northern Irish education system

(Links provided courtesy of the British Council in Barcelona.)

Summer Courses

http://www.educationuk.org/global/ – Drop down menu: Learn English, Junior Vacation

http://www.britishcouncil.org/c168_directory_of_schools_aw_final_v3.pdf –  British Council accredited English language centres

(Links provided courtesy of the British Council in Barcelona.)

More UK Study Links

http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/images/167506-cambridge-english-scale-factsheet.pdf  – cambridge examinations grades to european common framework.

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/language-requirements/ – example of language profile at an UK university.

http://www.master.sport.uni-erlangen.de/img/uploaded/1241620530_Language_Certificates.pdf – english certificate equivalents.

(Links provided courtesy of the Hamelin-Laie Internatinal School.)

Get Involved with ELACAT!

Be a part of this initiative to improve English language education in Catalunya. ELACAT believes that fostering a multilingual and cosmopolitan identity for children as learners and future citizens will ultimately help Catalunya meet the challenges of a globalized economy in English.

Click this link to download an application to become a member: ELACAT APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP

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