Thoughts on learning a language in later life

Stephen ShorttBlog, My Story in English, Student Blog, Travel Talk

In honour of the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons on October 1st every year, we asked some of our recent Travel Talk (50+) students to give us their views on learning a language later in life.

Eight of us from six different countries came to Alpha College on the 7th September, 2015 to face the challenge of improving our English.  We are from Japan, Canada, Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland and range in age from 61 to 76.

A window of opportunity to make new friends was immediately opened to us.  We had the chance to compare our different cultures and furthermore, we enriched our view of one another’s cultures.  We are from different countries but are united by a common goal – to improve our English.

So, why did we come here?

“I decided to learn English because I wanted to exercise my mind and furthermore I can meet new friends.” Eulalia Scalco, Italy.

My personal reason for being here in Ireland at Alpha College is to enhance my limited English. The second challenge is to keep my brain working and discover a new part of our interesting planet.” Wilfried Hotzinger, Germany.

“Why am I here? I’d like to travel around the world in good health. But I’m not good at understanding spoken English. So, I need to get accustomed to listening to English.” Toshiyuki Takahashi, Japan.

“I will have more time to travel when I retire and also I want to practise English with other people from different countries across the world. It’s a great opportunity and the immersion is great.” Louise Boucher, Quebec, Canada.

“Firstly, I came here to improve my English but also because I love learning other languages. The UK had been my favourite destination for that but this year, I decided to come to Dublin and I’m absolutely delighted with my choice. Ireland is beautiful and I enjoyed Alpha College very much.” Maite Cantoni, Switzerland.

“Learning a language later in life isn’t without its challenges; however, it gives a wider perspective on the world.” Yoshiko Hayashi, Japan.