People learn languages for a whole range of reasons. It might be to go on holiday abroad, to retire in another country, to communicate better with overseas clients, to set up a business abroad, to form better relationships with foreign relatives, friends and colleagues or to pass academic exams and secure a place at university.
Here are just a few of the people we have helped learn or improve their language skills recently.
Kerensa and her partner learned Portuguese in the run up to moving to Portugal. They learnt Portuguese for several months before leaving the UK. Learning the basics of Portuguese and some key words and phrases allowed them to talk to the locals and even work in Portugal whilst finding somewhere to live. The lessons gave them a great introduction to the language and they found that once they got there, the locals really appreciated their efforts and helped them further with their Portuguese.
Kevin and his partner learned Spanish prior to their honeymoon – three months travelling around South America. They focused on learning key phrases for everyday situations such as buying tickets, staying in hotels, buying food and dealing with problems. Without learning some of the language before their trip it would have been more stressful and difficult when talking to the locals and asking for things.
Pip and her husband moved to the Canary Islands to set up a business. They really needed to learn the language in more depth to make this easier for them especially dealing with organisations and official bodies in Spain. With a young daughter they also needed to deal with schools and education services. By focusing more on grammar they were able to manipulate the language to make up their own sentences, so they could go on to learn new words as and when they came across them once they began living abroad.
Tony began learning Mandarin with a group of colleagues as they had a big contract with companies in China and had to make regular trips to their factories. It was therefore very important to make an effort to learn some of the language. Although Mandarin is a difficult language to learn, their tutor started with the basics especially the pronunciation and built on this over time. By the end of two years Tony had enjoyed learning Mandarin so much that he started to focus on obtaining a GCSE qualification in Mandarin Chinese. Their business trips to China were much more enjoyable and helped them build better relationships with their colleagues.
Mandy, her husband and her two children had an extended holiday planned for the summer in Italy. They loved the country and had been going there for several years. They felt that they could get more out of their holidays and speak more to locals if they learnt some Italian. They had weekly lessons as a family leading up to their holiday. Their holiday was even better than normal because they felt more confident when dealing with the local people in shops, bars and restaurants.
Peter learnt German as he has his own business specialising in flight simulation training devices which meant he had to travel to Germany regularly for month-long contracts. Learning German has been essential to his success in Germany and has allowed him to build better relationships with clients contributing to his overall profitability.
Olivia really wanted to study A-level French at her secondary school however the school was not able to offer it due to lack of student numbers. Olivia really needed the points to get the place she wanted at her first choice of university. We were able to arrange weekly private French lessons with a very experienced French tutor. This arrangement was very successful because the one-to-one basis allowed Olivia to focus on her particular weaker areas in time for the exams. Olivia achieved her goal and got the place that she wanted at university.
Tina has been learning Spanish in the run up to her retiring to Spain. Despite lacking in confidence when it comes to anything academic and her thinking that she could never learn another language she has done amazing with learning the language. She uses mind maps and funny rhymes to help her memorise grammar rules and vocabulary. Her hard work has paid off because she is now living in Spain and communicating in the language every day. She has dealt with Spanish builders, paramedics when someone was taken ill, Spanish police and Spanish banks. She attends a craft group with local Spanish people and regular meet up groups to practise conversation. Apart from taking lessons she has set up a successful language exchange with a Spanish lady who is now a good friend. This has really helped her speaking and conversational skills.
As you can see, there are a whole range of reasons to start learning a language. Other people just like learning the language to do something different, something for themselves that they find challenging and worthwhile. It also keeps the brain going and can reduce the risk of dementia.
If you would like to find out more about learning a language and the different options there are, please contact us today.