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The first Barnetegi for Basque language students in the US begun last Saturday, July 9, in Boise, Idaho


Izaskun Kortazar, NABO's Basque language coordinator
Izaskun Kortazar, NABO's Basque language coordinator


Idaho’s capital is hosting the first Barnetegi (Basque immersion school) in the USA for Basque language students who desire to become teachers of Euskera, the Basque language. The Barnetegi has been organized by NABO’s Basque coordinator, Izaskun Kortazar, and it welcomed 15 students from Canada and several US states. These type of training of the Basque language is common in countries like Argentina or Uruguay. Students practice their speaking skills 6 hours a day for a week. Classes started in Boise last Saturday, July 9th and will go until the following Saturday, July 16th.

Boise, USA. Boise, Idaho, is hosting the first NABO Barnetegi in the USA for those students of Basque who would like to become instructors. There is a need for Basque teachers in North America. The goal is to study Basque online over four years, and once every 12 months attend a Barnetegi to focus on speaking the language. Once the four years are over, the students (now instructors) will work for two years teaching elementary Basque.

Both the program and the Barnetegi are free if the students complete 80% of their work. This year’s training has been possible thanks to HABE, who provided the financing to make it happen. Amaia Zeberio has been this year’s remote teacher, available to students online – by email or Skype. She works from Maizpide, in Lazkao, Gipuzkoa. So far, two of the 15 students have travelled to Lazkao this summer to study and several more have plans to do the same.

Students have to put in between 3 to 5 hours studying Basque while they’re in the “Euskara Munduan” (Basque language in the world) North American program. The program started in September and ended in June, before the holidays. However, students need to attend one week of Barnetegi during the summer. The second year of the program will start next October and NABO would like to have new students. In order to start it’s required to have a basic knowledge of Basque and be willing to teach afterwards

Students attending this first Barnetegi come from Canada, Nevada, Idaho, and Wyoming, and they will stay in Boise for a week. Classes take place at Boise State University from 9 am to 5 pm, weekend days included. They will review the year’s lessons and learn new material through interactive games and hands-on activities, which will also help the students get to know each other better. The last hour is being used to do homework. Lunch is at the BSU Boise River Cafe from 12 to 1. For dinner, the students go to Izaskun Kortazar’s house.

Kinku Zinkunegi, in charge of HABE’s Special Program for the Diaspora, will be teaching in Boise’s Barnetegi along with Izaskun Kortazar.

Today Monday, a group of exchange students from Larrabetzu (Bizkaia) visiting Boise, will join the Barnetegi students to practice speaking Basque. Other people who have participated in HABE’s online program in the past will also visit the Barnetegi to talk about their experiences and to encourage students in their learning process.

On Friday, July 15 at 8 pm, the students will gather at Leku-Ona Restaurant to sing Basque songs. Everybody is invited to attend and will receive a song booklet to follow along.

-If you are interested in becoming a Basque teacher, you can get in touch with NABO’s Basque language coordinator, Izaskun Kortazar, at


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