50 years of UPLEGESS: Mines Paris – PSL hosts a conference that gives a voice to the world’s languages and cultures

Education Institutional Decoding
Published on 6 June 2024
The 50th Congress of the Union des Professeurs de Langues Étrangères des Grandes Écoles et de l’Enseignement Supérieur (UPLEGESS) was held on May 30 and 31 at Mines Paris – PSL, and on May 29 and June 1 at Paris School of Business (PSB). The aim of the event was to take stock of the association’s 50th anniversary, and to demonstrate that the École prepares its students for a professional and scientific future abroad, where the acquisition of intercultural skills is just as important as training in the engineering sciences.

Innovative language teaching

At Mines Paris – PSL, all engineering students must master two foreign languages by the end of their course. While English is compulsory, training in up to four other languages, from a choice of 13 cultural languages in addition to English, is based on innovative teaching methods and AI. Learning a foreign language is not just about memorizing vocabulary and reciting grammar rules. It’s also about taking an interest in the society in which that language is spoken, heard and written.

It’s an invitation to open our eyes to other ways of thinking and perceiving the world, in all its diversity. The Languages, Culture & Interculture department offers in-house thematic and professionalization programs, as well as summer internships, for students in the civil engineering cycle.


A congress under the sign of plurilingualism and humanism

The UPLEGESS annual conference, held under the patronage of the Conférence des Grandes Écoles and the Commission des titres d’ingénieur (CTI), brought together specialist speakers to discuss the importance of quality language teaching, from a plurilingual and humanist perspective. The event also highlighted the central role of languages in the training of engineers, preparing them to evolve in a globalized environment.



PSL University’s shared language center

One year after the inauguration of the shared PSL University language center, coordinated by Mines Paris – PSL, this event highlights the progress made. The center currently offers courses in all 13 languages, with English only taught in-house by the school’s Languages, Culture & Interculture department. Students benefit from an enriching linguistic diversity, with courses tailored to their needs and future plans, encouraging interaction between students from different institutions.


A dedicated teaching team and holiday opportunities

Une équipe de professeurs natifs et bilingues, spécialisés en université, traduction et culture, assure une pédagogie basée sur l’ouverture, la créativité et l’interaction. Les élèves ont l’opportunité d’apprendre des langues telles que le suédois, l’hébreu ou encore la langue des signes française. De plus, des séjours linguistiques à la fin du deuxième semestre offrent des destinations variées comme le Japon, la Corée du Sud, Taïwan, le Maroc, l’Estonie et d’autres pays européens.


Mines Paris – PSL: multidisciplinary expertise

Mines Paris – PSL values multidisciplinary scientific expertise, encompassing not only the engineering sciences, but also human and social sciences such as sociology and psychology. Through the practice of language-cultures, the School fosters research excellence based on this multidisciplinarity, offering concrete solutions and piloting large-scale projects for the ecological transition and digital transformation. This approach places the engineer at the heart of public debate, combining the quest for meaning with the creation of value for business and society.

Susan Bottrell, Professor of English at Mines Paris – PSL, comments: “This semester, my first-year English classes had the opportunity to explore art as a visual form of communication. The self-portrait competition offered students a unique opportunity to share their way of seeing the world. As Albert Einstein said: “The greatest scientists are also artists”.


A photo competition to celebrate student creativity

The days of the congress also included the prize-giving ceremony for a photo competition, open to students from UPLEGESS member schools, on the theme of “I become another”, or the dynamic of transformation stimulated by learning a language. The photos exhibited at the congress were voted for to award two public prizes and two jury prizes, each worth 250 euros. These prizes are intended to support the cultural and artistic life of the Bureau Des Arts at the winning school. The competition gave students the opportunity to express their personalities and give free rein to their creativity.

Camille Hua, 1st year civil engineer (Jury’s Favourite Award): “It was difficult for me to express my vision of the world through photography. I often stay in the comfort of drawing, which is much more familiar to me. And yet, I simply had to give it a try.”


Eva Uzayambaza, 1st year Master Energie (Audience Favourite Award): My fascination in self-portraiture was sparked by Frida Kahlo, one of the most famous female artists from Mexico. Thus, I was inspired to make three of my self-potraits that reflect my academic journey from Rwanda to France.

Charlotte Bourny, 1è année en cycle ingénieur civil (Public’s Special Prize): “I’ve never taken photographs before, but this competition invited me to do so, and it’s been a great help”. 

Well done to all the students for their achievements!

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