Have you at last got time to learn a new language or brush up on one you’ve learned before? Do you think you’d make the most of your next trip to France or Spain, if you could speak the language more confidently?
From September 2023 I am offering a free taster session in any French or Spanish conversation group for anyone retired or semi-retired in the local Richmond, Twickenham, Hampton and South West London area, with or without a Richmond Card (though I definitely encourage a Richmond Card).
It is never too late to learn, improve or refresh a language, and there has been much media attention on the benefits of language learning to keep your memory sharp and your brain active. It is also a fun opportunity to make new friends with similar interests, and to meet fellow students face to face. You will learn together in a relaxed, mutually supportive environment, with a maximum of 5 other participants.
Since I stopped teaching in secondary schools, I have enjoyed the company of many mature students in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s with a wealth of experience in countless areas. The irony is that mature students recycling a language for leisure and pleasure are often more nervous than my teenage students, who need help preparing for A-levels or Oxbridge exams and interviews. But there is no need to be nervous or self-conscious. No questions or mistakes are silly, and it is likely I have heard them all before.
Our groups set themselves apart from informal French and Spanish groups for retirees, run by volunteers, as I am a bilingual Oxford scholar, and I have worked in the language teaching profession for over 20 years. So I have gradually built up knowledge, materials and handy tricks to help you achieve your full potential. We also restrict groups to 6 students or fewer to make sure that everyone has the time and confidence to contribute to discussions.
The conversation groups are open to all ages. That is one of the things which makes them so fun and varied. And you will impress yourself with your enjoyment and progress. Plus, it’s so much more fun to travel, or even watch foreign films, when you can speak the language!