Languages and youWonderful stories about your experiences in thelong and winding but finally rewarding road to learning languages “T he limits of my langua ge mean the limits of my wor ld” W ittgenstein, L. TLP 5,6
Copyright NA students at EOI ElxRomance in the German classroom by Javier Ruiz RamírezIt is said that speaking and writing non maternal languages improve yourchances in today’s world. The more foreign languages you manage to speakthe more successful in your social and work life you will be. It increases youropportunities to apply for a job; it makes it easy to travel all along foreigncountries and also makes you to seem smarter! But not only can those thingsbe achieved by speaking (or even learning) languages but to fall in love too.Don’t get me wrong. Not to fall in love with a language (that would be weird!). Imean to find your soul mate in an unexpected place like a languages class in alanguages school just at random.So the story began many years ago. Having studied English as first language atsecondary school, my chances to improve my skills with the language vanishedas soon as I began to study at university. You can imagine how difficult is tostudy a technical degree. Hard enough not to invest your valuable time carryingon hobbies like languages studies. I bitterly remember when exam periodsarrived. Hours and more hours of cramming and a five-hours exam (in the bestof the cases) was to decide if you were able to pass the subject and cover astep in your path to become an engineer.I was lucky. I managed to succeed in every exam I had faced ever since thevery first day I started at university, but I was kind of selfish and I wanted more.I craved to study abroad in the best European universities so I applied for anErasmus grant to Germany. Then I had to learn German and so I joined Elche’slanguages school as my way to do it. This is what happened next.Lesson one. Meeting people:First class. The teacher started talking about the common ways to introduceourselves to somebody. She wanted us to learn questions like ¿What’s yourname? Or what do you do? - - “¿Wie heia du? “
She was asking me. But my brain was paying no attention to her but to a prettydark haired girl who had sat right in front of me. I found myself glaring at herand the words just formed inside my head ¿Who are you? …We stood up and introduced to each other. I gathered the courage to approachto a group of girls which she was part of. My stomach made a little lurch. - “Hallo. ¿Wie heir du?”Giggling should be made illegal, I thought. - “Hallo. Ich bin Patricia”. - “Hallo. Ich bin Javier”.…Lesson 2. Modal verbs:- “¿Kann Ich hier sitzen?”- “Ja its frei”A couple of weeks after our first meeting I’d made important progresses. I’dmanaged to approach people of her group in order to be able to sit somewherenearby her. Ever since I met her I could not stop thinking about her. Lessonsglided by and I even realize…Lesson 3. Relationships:Time slid by and we got used to each other’s company. Whenever she wasnowhere to be seen I felt bewildered. I hadn’t felt like this before. It was hardlybearable to be alone in German lessons. We had made of those lessons our“little world”. I asked the question, not knowing what consequences it mighthave. - ¿Hast du eine beziehung? - Ja, aber nehme Ich nicht ernst.
Suddenly I didn’t seem to have any insides at all. I hope I could rip out my heartnot to feel this way. I would have never expected this to happen but it’dhappened indeed. I’d fallen in love and I hadn’t realized yet.Lesson 4. Free time and leisure:Weeks had elapsed and I’d given up with her. I’d returned to my old table (faraway from her) and our friendship had got cold and distant. We were learningabout leisure and free time. We were asked to stand up and make questions. Ivividly remember her approaching me and saying: - ¿Mochtest du morgen ein beer trinken? - “Sorry”, I said (I couldn’t answer that in German). “Tomorrow Barcelona and Chelsea are playing an important match and I cannot wait to watch it”, I said matter-of-factly. - “Then, ¿can I watch the match with you?” - “Why not”, I said coldlyA happy ending, afterwards. We met, spoke and scheduled an appointmentagain. We started dating, we bought a house and now we’re happy livingtogether. Again don’t get me wrong. It has not been easy get through all theproblems that happened to us during the last five years, but we have managed.We always do.And so, this is my story. One which tells about how languages and love can endup into two souls becoming one. And I’m happy for being able to write it!
My most embarrassing moment at the languages school or why was I late toclass by Alberto CerveróThis is my story. It is a true story and I think it’s the worst experience I haveever had in the School of Languages. It is not about English classes or anyother language but I consider in spite of the difficult situation is a funny momentto remember.It was Tuesday, like any other Tuesday this year that I have English class. Iwoke up very early due to the fact that I had to take my sister to work and shehas to arrive before nine o’clock. However, I always start classes at ten pastnine and on that particular day I knew I would have some spare time, not verylong to use it doing anything productive therefore I decided to wait at theSchool.When I arrived it was quarter to nine and the teacher had not arrived yet. Inaddition the classroom was locked and I needed to go to the toilet. Everythingwas OK until the moment I tried to open the toilet door in order to go out…ohmy God! I was trapped! The bolt had been hooked and it was impossible toopen the door. Nevertheless and maybe invaded by the syndrome of theclaustrophobia I tried for ten minutes to open it with no luck.
Suddenly and inexplicably a girl passed through one of those hidden narrowcorridor where toilets are in our School of Languages and she listened to metrying to open the door. Thanks to her I was rescued by a schoolteacher and thecaretaker, who used special tools to open it.Fortunately and after being trapped for twenty minutes I arrived on time to classand nobody noticed anything unusual.To conclude I have to say that is funny to remember the anecdote but I’m sure Iwill never go to the toilet in the School of languages although if it is impossibleto resist I will leave the bolt unlocked.
My year speaking in tongues in AmsterdamBy Roberto T. Yáñez PaciosOne cool thing about languages is that you have to use them undoubtedly whenis travelling that we talk about. It is curious how people feel when suddenlyanother language has to be talked and there is no other choice.The first time it happens to you, maybe an overwhelming embarrassment startsto grow on your inside, but I firmly believe that sooner or later it will disappear.Just by the time that you need to communicate yourself with words.It is difficult to express the feeling of being abroad and noticing that from thatvery moment until you leave, you will be forced to speak not in your mothertongue. Out of necessity that is.
Despite facing all sorts of difficulties, not only can you handle it but you end upenjoying it.Given the chance, I did not doubt to live one year abroad. And suddenly, I sawmyself in a humid north-European country, living for a year and willing at leastto learn and practice a language. If you have ever studied any, you feel likedemonstrating yourself you are able to speak it fluently, besides understandingit and feeling involved with the culture.At first I expected to converse only in that one language, but at the end it ishighly unlikely. Seeing that other students in your same situation want to learnSpanish, you offer yourself to teach in exchange of some of their knowledge.It is rather exciting when you live abroad for a long while and meet people fromother countries, because it becomes more appealing. Even more if both of youshare a second - and a third - foreign language to chat. A Spanish guy and asmart extrovert Italian girl can make a great combination if they both havestudied English and French, as the conversation can change from one toanother passing through Italian or Spanish not making any difference to us. Allthis incorporating not only the languages you know but also the one that you arecurrently learning from the other person.And what is more, it gets completely out of the ordinary if all this happens in acountry with a different official language (for example, Dutch) because thisunknown one is also introduced in all the mixture of words. At length, withouthaving decided anytime, both you and your friends end up speaking some kindof own mishmash where an exquisite selection of diverse words is included, buteveryone understands it... because you all have created it.Having lived one year abroad, when I finally returned to my country all theseexperiences had become so interesting that I started again studying English.Eager to learn, I also became interested in starting studying other subjects andlanguages, reinforcing that vision of live as a continuous learning.
And in addition, there are also foreigners in your city wishing to teach and learn.Discovering that it is possible to vividly remember most of the sensations just byhaving a language exchange... has no price. These are by far the bestdecisions I have ever taken and the best time I have ever had.
Ireland and Spanish-phobic family by Eva Santonja CeresolaI have always loved travelling abroad and I have to admit that speaking perfectEnglish is one of the objectives that I vividly wished for.Having proven that, despite studying at the Official English School for so manyyears, it is thoroughly complicated to improve your English reaching a perfectlevel if you are surrounded by Spanish people, I decided to ask for a grant totravel abroad and improve my English chatting with native people. As soon as Iachieved the grant, I joined in a group of students who would go to live with Irishfamilies in Tullamore (Ireland).When I arrived there, everything was gorgeous. All of my mates were extremelynice and open- minded. They came from Italy, France, Poland, Turkey, Korea,and so on. Most of them were Spanish too, but what we tried to speak inEnglish with the rest of the people, so they tried to do the same. Speaking all ofus the same languages we could share lots of funny and memorable momentstogether, but finally we also learnt Italian, French, and many more languagesbecause of them.Although life with my friends was completely wonderful, the time I had to spendat home rarely was I so happy and comfortable. They didn’t speak to me at all,neither did they walk with me, they told me that they didn’t like young Spanishpeople, that was why they didn’t try to know me. They just gave me my lunch ina little, brown, paper bag with an insipid sandwich and a piece of fruit.During the first days I try to convince myself that you can’t have your cake andeat it too, in other words, if my free time with my friends was lovely, I had to holdon with the situation at home and try to get on well with my Irish family.But when I have spent two weeks in that house, the situation was bitterlyinsufferable and I was looking forward to come back to Spain. I felt absolutelyalone when I was at home and deeply frustrated because what I wanted to do,since I arrived there, was speaking English with that people, but they were sorude and unfriendly that I felt I couldn’t get it.
Spending so much time alone in my room, reading, writing and thinking overlots of things about my life, I realised that I was more independent and self-sufficient that I’ve never thought and, probably, it helped me to mature beforetime, afterwards every cloud has a silver lining.
My Talkative Experiences by Nuria CampilloCommunication: that great ability that human beings have to express theirfeelings, expose their ideas and transmit their needs. This is the main aspectthat makes us different from animals and without it humanity would not haveadvanced until nowadays as it has done. And the main vehicle we use tocommunicate between us, the principal tool that makes it possible, is thelanguage. But, have you ever thought how important is to be in verbal contactwith our environment and how we use it in our day-to-day?When I was a child, my parents taught me to speak two languages, Spanishand Valencià. I am bilingual, and it caused me some “problems” in this firststage of my life: I was in a mess because I could not distinctly distinguish thewords between that two languages. I remember my mother explaining to me:“you say naranja in Spanish and taronja in Valencià”. Fortunately thatpuzzlement passed, and now I feel glad to talk in Valencià when I perceive aValencian talker thanks to his or her accent.Apart from the native languages I talk, I study English at the languages school.It is a basic skill to be familiar with this language in order to carry out my jobproperly, mainly for writing scientific papers for journals and for presenting incongresses the latest research developed in my research group. At this point Ivividly remember my first international congress. I have to admit that I was a bitnervous as I had to present my job in English using technical vocabulary, theroom was crowded and I could recognize before the faces of some experts inthe matter I was going to talk about. In the questions time, one of them started alittle discussion and I felt deeply frustrated when I could not answer him as Iwould have wanted because I was not be able to understand all hissuggestions.My last English interesting experience happened the last month when I went toAmsterdam for studying a course related to the subject of my PhD. There I metquite a number of researchers from different European countries and during twodays we had great conversations, of course in English. It was amazing to thinkthat all we spoke different native languages, but the common link for ourconversations was English.
Finally, I would like to communicate the reader of this text that it is wonderful toshare talkative experiences with other people. You know, the more languagesyou speak, the higher number of astonishing different people you will be able toarrive. So, a great communicative objective for the next year resolutions: tolearn a new language.
My path from student to teacher by Veronica Torres BarragánYou really want it, when you really need it.I have been very keen on languages in my life and of course on English. Istudied English at primary school and I always got good marks. I firmly believedit would be fantastic to travel abroad and be able to understand people andbeing understood as well. In that moment, I couldn’t look forward and findanother vast array of benefits that English skills could give me.The choice to improve my English became when I really needed it, in my newjob. I have been working as a nursery school teacher for twelve years, all ofwhich I have enjoyed quite a lot, working in childhood education. Every day, Ihave to take care of children, help them to be more independent in their dailyroutines, teach them to live together with other children, share the materials inclass…but not to teach them in English. So, I have never thought that Englishcould be necessary in my work.But three years ago I had the opportunity to thrive on my working conditions bychanging my job. Now I work in a public nursery school in San Fulgencio. It is avery small village located in the area of La Vega Baja. The population of thevillage is mainly people from the United Kingdom, so half of my pupils areEnglish. That’s the reason why I wanted to improve my English and I joined theEnglish school here in Elche; I did so just to be able to explain to the parents ofmy children how they had spent the day or to be able to deal some problemsrelated to their education. Now I’m studying my last year in the English schooland I hope to finish it successfully.Finally, taking everything into account, I fully recognize that my English skillshave really helped me to feel more competent in my job despite not beingnecessary for me. As a result I have made close English speakers friends therein San Fulgencio.
Multilingual harmony in the camino by Jesús Román Pastor I am going to tell you my experience of the Saint James’ Way. I did theSaint James’ Way with two friends at the beginning of the last summer. One ofthem had already done a few years ago and he convinced his brother, otherfriend and me to do it, but finally the other friend couldn’t. We were very excitedabout this life experience. How beautiful landscapes we would see, how manypeople we would meet… We prepared some weeks before, buying clothes and preparing ourbody, we are young and sporty so we didn’t need to train too much. We traveledby train from Alicante to Madrid and then by hotel-train to Sarria. It was gettinglight when we arrived. So we had breakfast and then we started to walk. Wewere very excited about this. At the beginning of the journey we took photos of
everything, our breakfast, buildings, trees, the first people we met…The firstpeople were a friendly elderly Italian couple, whom we met the others days,because normally, people go at the same speed. During the Way, we met people from a lot of places of Spain, and from alot of countries. We met Italians, British, Germans…We were greeting eachother in several languages, “Ciao”, “Hallo”, “Hola”…But after that, everyone toldthe same phrase in Spanish “Buen camino”. There was harmony in the Way,everyone was enjoying the nature and everyone smiles to other people, apartfrom some people in the bars who put up the prices because it was theJacobum Year, but normally there was an especial connection to each other. We walked twenty-five kilometers at day of average. We went toPortomarin, Palas de Rei, Melide…and finally to Santiago. How satisfied andjoyful we felt when we saw the cathedral. A day after we went to Finisterre andwe had an incredible experience just seeing the ocean. We went to A Costa daMorte to watch the sunset. My best friends and I taking a beer in the silence,peace at the amazing end of the world. That was just the best prize.
My experience working in a country hotel in Oxford by DianaBeing aware of the importance of the languages in the professional world andhaving studied English since the age of 11, when I finished university (I did adegree in Tourism) I decided that it was the suitable time to do something I hadalways wanted to but I had never had the opportunity or the economicresources to do it: go to live to England for a while. I already knew the grammar,but I needed to get fluency in my spoken English and get my ears used to theEnglish accent. To begin with, the first thing I did was to find two friends to undertake thatamazing new experience with. Together, we contracted a company which foundin two days job and accommodation for the three of us in the same place, ahotel called Heythrop Park. Within a week, we prepared the journey, bought thetickets and everything we needed. I remember those days as extremely busyand stressful ones! Our plane landed in London the first of December of 2004and, after taking a bus to Oxford, we realized that things were not as we hadexpected because the hotel wasn’t located in Oxford. As a policeman told us,we had to take another bus to Enstone, a small village half an hour away by carfrom Oxford, and once we were there, walk a little as the hotel was surroundedby golf fields and a natural park.
That “walk a little” turned out to be more than an hour; luckily a car stopped andgave us a lift. Once in the hotel, an extremely rude receptionist told us were ourrooms were situated, and then another girl showed us the hotel, a quaintenormous old building which looks like a castle full of ghosts, and explained uswhat our job would consist of. My two friends would work in the restaurant and Iin the banqueting and conference department. The following two weeks were exceedingly harsh, not only because I wasworking alone in a foreign country with unknown people, but also because Irealized that I had to learn too much as I didn’t understand a word when peopletalked to me in English. I was terrified and only wanted to take a plane backhome! But then the time went by and, although nothing was as I had expectedbecause the main thing I wanted to do there was to take an English course anddo some exams, and being in the middle of a forest and working every day wasmore than impossible, I started to enjoy myself working in that hotel with suchfascinating people from all range of nationalities and getting more fluent inEnglish or, at least, losing the fear of speaking and understanding that languagethat wasn’t my mother tongue. We spent eight months in that breathtakinglycharming hotel and now I can say that rarely had I had such an intenseexperience. If it hadn’t been for the English language I would never have livedthe most exciting and funniest months of my life.
At last I came back to Spain and I found a job in a marble factory due tothe fact that I could speak English. Having gained good communication skillsand not wanting to lose them, I thought it was a good idea to go to the OfficialLanguages School. I did a level test and I started in the second course of theintermediate level. Now I’m in the last year and I hope to finish in June, but Idon’t know what I’ll do later. Sure go for another language !
A personal achievement: learning English by Montse It was in 2004 when I was looking for an educational experience, and atthe same time I wanted to add something interesting without pressure in my life.The idea of learning English was by far the best way to do it, and it was growingconstantly thinking that English would provide me a lot of variety andknowledge. At that time, the official English school opened in my town, andsoon I made the most of this opportunity. It would be an alternative at very littleexpense and feasible. I have to admit that I lost touch with the language for along period of time and to be honest, I feel pride in my achievement. The bestthing would be if I hadn’t stopped learning from secondary school days,but it’snever too late to start again.Probably, the reasons for choosing English, ‘the global language’, were on onehand, because certainly by the turn of the century it is widely used, Englishbecame the language with people were most likely to be taught and one of themost available to adults, and on the other hand, because English rules is anactual example of uncomplicated language, it has less grammar than othersand majestic expression, fair examples of factors which motivated me andmade a big difference from the rest to went back learning English. I consider learning a language, as a vehicle of developing a great cultureand my self-esteem. In my opinion the language choice is one of the mostsensitive issues, accessible to everyone. At the moment, I am studying atadvanced level in the EOI Elx and making great progress. I enjoy the availabilityof self access material in our blog. In particular, I love English more thananything else I would do in my free time. It is just an entertaining way not towaste my time and luckily it helps a great deal with my daily life, particularlytogether with the resources at my disposal and support that my English teacherprovides. In short, advantages, creative work and increased opportunities, aredetermining factors for people who enjoy learning a language comparedespecially with those who don’t learn a language.
Four languages and a job by Esperanza García Vacas In my opinion, it is very important to learn languages. At the present time,they are essential to communicate with the rest of the world, travel, knowdifferent cultures, find a job or just for personal development. I like learning languages. In fact, I studied Tourism because there wereseveral subjects related to languages. I can claim to speak 4 languages: Spanish, Valencian, English andGerman.My first language is Spanish because I am from Spain and it is my mothertongue. Because of I live in Alicante, I studied Valencian as a child. Therefore I
am fluent in it. Nevertheless, I am not bilingual and as I dont use Valenciandaily, it has become a bit rusty. English is another language in which I can get by.I consider English the most important language in the world. These days,English is becoming more and more popular. You need it to work, travel, searchthe Internet, etc. I have been studying English for years. And I will study it the rest of mylife because I’m aware that it is not possible to know all about a language. Youcan study a language day by day and you will always learn something new. I studied English at the grade school, High School, at the University andtoday I study it at the language school. I even lived in Ireland during the summer of 2005. I worked as an au-pairand I lived with an Irish family. It was a wonderful time and my English improveda lot. However, now I have lost vocabulary and fluency. Thats why I continuestudying.I doubt if I will be reasonable good at English in the future, but I amputting a lot of effort into it.Rome wasnt built in a day, was it? Finally, the fourth and last language, in which I can have a conversation,is German.I think German is considerably more difficult than English. However I like it.I was in Germany in 2004. I was given an Erasmus grant to study in a little townin the South of the country. I was there for 6 months and I learned rather well.Even though I know if I had been there more time, I would have learned more.Anyway, I try to learn at home. Frequently, I watch films in German and once ina while I read a book. Thanks to the languages I speak, I found my job. Today Im working withthe online service of a bank. We help customers by telephone. We receive calls
and we resolve problems the customers have. Among the customers, there areforeign people. I speak daily with English and German people by telephone. Inthe beginning it was so difficult for me. It is easier to understand somebody faceto face than by telephone. But today I am used to speak with the customers bytelephone and I understand most of the conversations. In conclusion: These are the languages in my life.I consider myself a strong-willed person; therefore I will continue studying these languages to improve them. And if it is possible, I will try to learn new languages. Because “one can never know too much”, right?Thousands of new doors that I can knock on by Jose Luis Boj PovedaThe very first language I learnt was Spanish, since my mother tongue isValencian. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t aware that I was acquiring it as timewent by loads of new expressions, vocabulary, idioms, sayings, etc. From my
childish point of view, this knowledge came out of the blue due to the fact that Ididn’t notice the learning process at all.It was time after when I realized that learning languages, at least at a proficientlevel, involved doing a huge effort, in other words, that I would have to hit thebooks. By then I was studying French at high school and it turned out that I gotquickly a strong basis because of its similarities with Valencian, a kind ofsynergy which I highly appreciated. English was the next language I decided tolearn. I started in 1999 attending short night or summer courses and in 2004 Ientered the first course of English at the Languages Official School, havingcontinued my studies up until now.This is (I hope) my last year as an English student so, what’s next? I’mconsidering the possibility of learning German (or even Chinese); since I reallyenjoy having the ability of communicate with people from other countries. Itappears to me as thousands of new doors that I can knock on and are likely tochange my fate. In conclusion, languages and I, have been, are and will be twovery close concepts to me.
A villain teacher, a diffident girl and a happy ending by María I.Once upon a time there was a bright little girl who did not like English when shewas in Primary School. In spite of the fact that she was very interested inforeign languages and she had excellent marks in all her subjects, she had aserious problem with English. As in any good story, there was a villain character. In this case, he was adraconian middle-aged teacher who laughed at his pupils all the time. He tookpleasure in embarrassing his students in public, in particular, when they made amistake in pronunciation or in the spelling of a word. Actually, this diffident girland her classmates were frightened in each class. Never had she lived such ahorrible situation, she started to hate English. Fortunately, her parents decided to send her private lessons in order toimprove her English level. At which point, the hated classes became anadvantage for learning English because she had a working knowledge of thislanguage. Having developed a love for English, she was completely happy atschool.The more she grew, the more interested in English she became.Actually, when she was going to start Secondary School, she decided to takeup at the Language School of Elche. Shortly afterwards, she had to quit herpassion for a well-paid job, but English was always in her heart. Her life tookmany turns and nowadays this talented girl would like to become an Englishteacher in the near future.
A resolution achieved by MayteWhy did I start to learn a foreign language? In short because of work. I movedto a seaside town sixteen years ago. At that time a massive amount of foreignpeople resided in Spain especially English and German people, therefore themain requirement to apply for a job was to speak foreign languages.In this little town there were hardly any possibilities to learn, as a consequenceI joined to the Official School of languages in a program called That’s English , agreat alternative to learn by yourself at home furthermore with the support of ateacher from whom I received classes once a week.I got the Elemental degree after three years. Eventually I left English forcircumstances of my personal life. However, having studied for three years, Iwasn’t able to use the language properly.When it comes to learning or doing something as an obligation it can turn into anightmare, I was under pressure by myself , because of hard exams, to sharehomework with my own housework , to memorize too much vocabulary andheavy grammar, to sum up I made a big effort with which I wasn’t confident.I retook my English studies three years ago in order to achieve an old goal, andnot having used it after ten years the beginning was quite hard. Nowadays I amin the second advance level of English and in the second basic level of French,actually I have to say that it is by far my best moment regarding to thelanguages, I enjoy it every day at school, when I speak it, when I listen to it, forinstance when I travel abroad I am looking forward to use it.Although I am aware that I am not as good as I should be, I keep enjoying it.In conclusion, the most important thing for me as student it isn’t a matter ofmarks, it is learning and enjoying it, and believe me it is really worthy.
Tsunami paradise by OliEverybody has a reason to go, a reason to begin, to finish, to forget …to learn.It was mine: travel to remember.The winter of 2004 came much more intensive than most people had expected,when a terrible tsunami struck a great deal of lives around Asia and Africa, the26 of December.While the terrible piece of news was being broadcasted around all the TV andradio programmes, I was enjoying the Christmas time with my family.Afterwards, as many people did, I though – Thank goodness because there arecourageous enough people to go there and try to help all these people! – And Isent an e-mail to one Spanish charity organization giving them my humblesupport and saying to them how much I would like to collaborate.
It was the 31 of December, no sooner had we prepared the dinner, when thephone rang. It was SEMECA (Spanish Medical Catastrophe Association) whocalled me to go to Sri-Lanka to work as a nurse.It was hard to believe. Into my chest was my heart was beating wildly.Meanwhile I was flying to Asia with a team of doctors, nurses and firemen.As soon as we arrived we were able to be aware of how very poor these peoplewere, on a regular basis, also before the tsunami came. Now, they had nothing.From then on we decided to stay living where they were, inside the old schoolbuilding which hadn’t been destroyed at all. So we could take care of theirhealth every 24 hours.Walking along the streets, the view was distressing. The destroyed housesbesides the hospital showed the water mark near the roof. We found it difficultto believe! Silence reigned around.Our hospital was formed by three ridge tents. From the first sun light to the nighta line of injured and sick people came to ask for treatment, from broken bonessix days old… to births. But everyone come with terrible histories to tell aboutdear people, mostly children, they had lost.Some young boys, who had studied secondary school, were our translatorsfrom their language called “Tamil” to English, which fortunately had beenbasically learnt by everyone at school.But, what about children who were looking into your eyes with their almond darkeyes that didn’t understand nothing or who we were? What about men andwomen as grateful as resigned, who explained to us how they had injuredthemselves while they were trying to help their own children? I didn’t knowenough English to understand their feelings, to meet their culture, to learn somuch about courage…Nowadays I can’t forget those twenty days in the tsunami paradise where myEnglish didn’t let me share emotions.Now, learning in the EOI-Elx, I remember with love that incredible experience.My reason to begin my English studies, my reason to continue working at it.
Phonetics and classmates by Verónica Chico GrasLanguage is used by humans as a communication system. This use oflanguage, apart from being used to express feelings and to share information,has become deeply entrenched in human culture. Nowadays, learninglanguages has a special interest in our society because it brings more jobopportunities. This is the main reason why I decided to start learning English atthe Official Language School six years ago. Since then, not only have I learnt anew way to communicate, I have met lots of interesting and charming peoplealong the way.At the beginning I was very impressed in my first English course at the OfficialLanguage School because I learnt much more English than I thought I could. Inspite of the fact that I had studied English in primary and high school, this wasthe first time that a teacher put special emphasis on pronunciation instead of ongrammar. I vividly remember when I spent five minutes trying to pronounce wellthe word WORK in class.At this school apart from studying a lot of English and learning about curiousissues and current affairs, at this school I met a wide variety of people most ofwhom I shared personal experiences with made me laugh a lot and finally thosepeople and I have become close friends. However, the time I have spent at thisschool despite being wonderful, did not lack sad moments. Among these, it wasthe death of my classmate the most terrible experience that I had to go throughwhile studying at this school. I had met her a few months before she passedaway when we started 1NI level and we got on well. One day she didn´t cometo class because she had flu and two weeks later she died. It was exceedinglyharsh for me because her dead was fast and sudden. It made me think that lifeis very short and therefore I do not have to worry about things that are notworth it.To sum up, studying English brings me a new way to communicate and jobopportunities but overall it makes me find a wide variety of interesting andcharming people.
My road to learning English and some party animals I met onthe way by BaldoAfter thinking for a while how to depict in a couple of words my experiences withthe languages, I concluded that the most attractive and exciting way would bejogging my FIRST TIMES ENGLISH memories.Probably, as most of my contemporary colleagues, my first contact with aforeign language was in the primary school when I was a child. Being honest, Ihave poor memories of this period of my life, although I have got to admit that Istill keep the books and the related activities of this initial English learning.Thanks to the ‘Comenius’ European educational programme, I was extremelylucky tovisit thequaintvillage ofKirchheim(Sttutgart)inGermany.TheComeniusprogrammeaims atimproving the language skills of the European students through two-weeks stayin host families. Not only was it the first time I was abroad, but also it was thefirst time I was more than 200 meters far away from my family protection.Yearning to revive this freedom experience, Kirchheim represented a turningpoint in my life in which languages and foreign countries mix together.
Another unforgettable experience took place in Southampton when I was already a university student. It was the first time I traveled on my own, and maybe the lack of self confidence on my English capabilities, or the fact that the residence where I stayed was full of party-loving Spanish people,did not make it a complete language experience at all.Unfortunately, adulthood reached me and such inappropriate behaviour wasmoved away in my following language experiences in Dublin and Toronto. Ascan be appreciated in this picture, although I tried to keep my mature promise ofmeeting other people, studying hard, etc., only some of them were achieved.Being abroad provided me with both the opportunity to meet fantastic people allaround the world and the challenge of living under the same roof of hospitableforeign host families. Unhappily, I am not in touch with most of them, but writingthese experiences brings me closer to them.EOI Elx represents myn latest English learning experience, and neither myclassmates are foreign nor I am living in a host family, but anyway It is alsobeing a memorable period.
My Phoenix flight by AnaIt is amazing how life can change. One day there is something you really do notlike, something you hate enough, and is funny seeing how the next day, whenyou wake up, it becomes part of yourself. That was my beginning with my firstforeign language, as you can guess, with English.I can remember my first lessons with this weird and “from outer space”language. When I was 7 the teacher stood up in front of all the students andstarted to speak as she was possessed. I opened my eyes as much I could,looking at this scene. No one could understand what was happening, moreoverunderstanding what she was saying. Indeed she was speaking English, a -notat all- new language for us. As soon we started learning English we realizedthat a lot of words we have seen on TV, in magazines or even in the normal lifecame from English. It was a total surprised!My first steps in this new language were easy: colors, familiar words, verbs, andso on. I was proud of my self saying words in English to my family as part of myprogress in the school. But in the next year we came in an upper level.Everything was more sophisticated and complex. Conditionals?, False Friends?Phrasal Verbs? My brain was almost exploding with all such asincomprehensible information. I felt lost as we were given more lessons. And totop it all, all my classmates seemed to learn faster than me. This fact made melose my interest on the language. I started wondering why we needed to learnEnglish, why it was so important as much as another subject at school -Maybenow it is clear the importance of English, but on these days this language wasgetting popular in the economic and social aspects- All this confusion plus thefact that I was not able to follow the lessons, made me hate English. Theneverything was getting worse as the days went by. I was the last student toanswer teacher’s questions; I couldn’t understand any homework we did andtherefore my marks were below the pass.The final term arrived and we got our final marks with a big expectation. Exceptme. I had put a big effort into all the subjects, even English, but actually it wasthe only I failed. Everybody was enthusiastic showing their pass-marks to theirparents, who looked proud to them. And then, in this moment, I felt guilty and
wretched with my failed-English as it would be a stain in my academic file forthe rest of my life. Maybe it can sound excessive, however at this ageeverything you feel is enormous.Then I felt it, deep in my self, how a little voice told me I could change that. If Iquit now I would last forever with this disappointment over my shoulders. It wasa mix between my conscience and responsibility which pushed me ahead withEnglish. Then I knew what I should do. I had to face my fears, I ought toscramble over English and show everyone, even myself, I could do it. It wouldbe like a phoenix, I would return from my ashes.While the summer was coming by, I was trying hard to learn by heart a lot ofvocabulary, verb forms, grammar, sounds, spelling and pronunciation. But itwas even more boring I had supposed. In order to catch my attention I mademyself believe it was a game, and behind all this meaningless words was hidingthe main clues to find an incredible treasure in a lonely island. And it worked!Days after I surprised myself devouring hundreds of grammar exercises andlearning faster new words.When the new academic year began I was extremely nervous and anxious inthe same time. It would be worthwhile all my effort during the summer or acomplete waste of time? All my doubts were disappeared on my first Englishlesson. I could understand everything! all the teacher was saying inclusive allthe exercises we did. There I could not do anything but smiling. I felt over themoon! My determination to improve my English had had big satisfactory results,and also made me fall in love with the language. My horrible English past markswere now excellent! Then, I became aware that I had learnt something veryimportant, which indeed could be incredible useful in the future: fight for thethings you really want, and then, in this moment, no one could stop you to getthem.
I am still looking for this incredible treasure in a lonely island.
A welcoming Irish host family By CristinaIts true that my first contact with the English was at school, when I was tenyears old. I vividly remember the first English class, we were utterly excited andoverjoyed because all of us wanted to know some word in English, it was anuncanny and unknown idiom for us. We began learning the numbers and thecolours, it was so funny. I still remember that the teacher said us that thepronunciation of the colour “green” was like the the sound of frogs.When I was fifteen, I decided to apply for a grant with which you can travel toIreland with a group of students who are your same age, guided by twoexperienced leaders, in order to stay with a family for a month. I got it, and Itravelled, my first time alone, I mean, without my parents, to a foreign countryfor a month!I went to Offaly, Tullamore concretely. It was an unforgettable experience forme, because thanks to experiences like this, you mature incredibly fast and getto be more self-confidence.
There I stayed in a broken home, with the mother in her thirties whose childrenwere a naughty seven-year-old boy and a lovely ten-year-old girl. They tookcare of me extremely well. They took and then picked me up wherever andwhenever. In addition, when I stay at home, they were always on the lookout forme, in case of I had hungry or I was bored. Rebekah, the girl, always wantedplay with me to “dads and moms” with her dolls. It was so chirpy.Staying there, I meet a lot of friends of different points of Spain, and after class,we went out to take a walk, or to go shopping. Every weekend we went hikingto different parts of Ireland, like the capital Dublin, or surrounding cities. It wasreally funny and satisfying knowing different places.I got on very well with the family, even I called Michelle, the mother, when I wastalking with my friends “my mum from here” . However, I missed a lot my realfamily, my parents, my brothers...So spent the month, the day of parting came, and Rebekah and I cried a lot.Indeed, she gave me a lovely teddy which I appreciated so much and I put itlater in my car, where it is since that day.Nowadays, I keep in touch with them, we call each other every year atChristmas in order to congratulate and tell the important things which havehappened during the year.Ever since I havent stopped learn English; first at school, like Ive mentioned,then at secondary school, which last year, taught me an excellent teacher whodawned on me a special interest on the English language. From then on Ibegan study English in the Languages School at intermediate level. At thebeginning it was so hard for me, because it required a high level of English, butI was so enthusiastic on it.Afterwards, I began the Tourism degree in the University of Alicante and Ineeded speak fluently English more than ever, so I followed with the LanguagesSchool, each year one level higher until nowadays when I am in the last year ofadvanced level. This is so rewarding for me.
So that is all about me and the English language, now I hope pass the lastexam of the Languages School and get the First Certificate in English too.Finally, I am thinking of applying for another grant in order to improve myEnglish this summer, but I dont know where Ill go... maybe in the next contestIll tell you about that trip. In the class with my teacher and my best friends of Ireland
MY FIRST TRIP ABROAD by RAQUEL MORA ROS. I was in my last year in Secondary school. I had already decided that Iwill do my degree in Law, although I wasn’t going to do “the selectividad” untilfew months later. I was going to study at University the following year. However, I didn’tfeel like an adult. Over all, because I didn’t have the independence and freedoman adult has. I had a lot of rules and strict discipline at home.On the one hand, though I could go out with my friends, I hated it that I had tomeet my father in a place to come back home. I felt ashamed for this. On the other hand, I couldn’t bear it when my mother ordered me whichclothes I had to wear to go class every single day. In addition, I couldn’t go tosleep to a friend’s. Maybe, it was the same for everyone. In that age you feelthe centre of the world. The thing was that my English teacher, Julia, recommended ascholarship the government awarded and it consisted of spending a month witha host family in England. Loving learning English, travelling, meeting newpeople and knowing other cultures, I got utterly happy and I decided to take thatopportunity in order to improve my English and get on by myself in anothercountry. But, first of all, I had to ask my English teacher to help me to make up myparent’s mind. Amazingly, it worked and a couple of months later I was awardeda scholarship, through which, I was staying for a month in Manchester with ahost family. Came the time to travel to Manchester, I was pretty excited because ofall the experiences I was going to have and all the people I was going to meet.It also was going to be the first time I was flying and going abroad. I packed my suitcase and I took a coach in Alicante with other studentsto go to Valencia airport where we caught a plane to fly to London. Having arrived at London airport, we took a coach to go to Manchester,where our host families were waiting for us.
My host family, the Shah, were from Pakistan and spoke Arabic. Theylived in a detached house in a suburb of Manchester, called Chorlton. Theywere attentive, friendly and kind. I spent wonderful days with them. Another thing is that we had to go to a Secondary school in the morningto learn and improve our English. There, I met marvellous people that I’ll neverforget. In addition, we had to go on excursion to different places, such as theManchester United stadium, the Museum of History, Art galleries and the citiesof York and Liverpool. And, we also had time to go shopping in Manchester, to walk round thecity, its suburbs and its lovely parks, and go out to many different bars and pubsat night. After few weeks, we could think in English and it wasn´t an effort toarticulate our feelings and thoughts in English. To sum up, that was the most incredible, fascinating and fantasticexperience I’ve ever had. I felt independent, free, capable to get on by myself,even in English. And, the most important thing, I met wonderful friends, withwhom I keep in touch nowadays. We know every special moment that has
happened in our life. A family affair by ToñiHaving started learning languages at an early age, it has been one of myfavourite hobbies ever since.I am bilingual in Spanish and Valencian, because it is my mother language.When I was at school, I started learning English until high school. Althoughthere were many years of grammar and study, it was not enough to befluent in speaking.Apart from English at high school, I took Latin for a year. It was incrediblyfascinating being able to understand classical texts , so I enjoyed it.
Throughout my adult life, I started to learn French. I really have to say thatit was easy for me, due to the fact that it is similar in some bits to theValencian language.In spite of this, I realized that it was more useful for me to improve myEnglish level, mainly at work. When travelling abroad, no matter the placewhere you are, it is absolutely necessary to have a good knowledge ofEnglish.Thus here I am, studying the advanced English level at the “Escuela Oficialde Idiomas”. Furthermore, one of my daughters is here studying the samelevel, at the same classroom, and with the same nice teacher. Oh my God!and she is doing better than me. In conclusion, what about trying Germanlanguage next time?My first year at the languages school by Marisa Córcoles BartoloméWhy is important to learn languages? Why do we start to study a foreignlanguage when we are children? That’s because we live in a globalizalisedworld and we need to come into contact with people from other countries. So,the sooner we begin study idioms the faster we achieve our purpose.Broadly speaking, this is the reason what I decided to continue my Englishstudies at the Official Language School. When I finished Secondary School Iwent to the university and I stopped studying English. A couple of yearsafterwards I took up it again and now this is my sixth year at the OfficialLanguage School.
During the last years I’ve known a lot of people and I’ve shared exceptional andunforgettable moments with them. But I remember with especial affection myfirst year at Official Language School. Our teacher was a young woman and itwas the first time she taught. She was stable, good-humoured and attentive.Our group of classmates was very close and as soon as we had theopportunity, we organized a dinner all together with the teacher.We spent an amusing night, having a delicious meal and dancing in a pub.Having had a friendly atmosphere, we celebrated other meetings during thecourse.When the course finished I felt deeply sad because our teacher couldn’t repeatin the School and most of us probably wouldn’t stay together the following year.Although we couldn’t see each other the next course we stayed in touch and wekept up our friendship.Languages are highly useful to get a job, to go abroad for holidays, to talk withforeign people but in my opinion languages unite people and help make strongrelationships and this is the best advantage I’ve felt since I started to learn alanguage.
When communication turns into an adventure by VictorAccording to my experience English is spoken everywhere. In some lands as itsnative language, in others is the second and in the most of the countries inwhich another language is spoken, English is known by a vast majority of itsinhabitants. For example if we focus on Europe, the Scandinavian have adoptedEnglish as a second language as well as other small lands such as the isle ofMalta, Holland due to the fact that its language is just spoken in their countriesso that its people have more opportunities abroad English is learnt in the schoolfrom their childhood. Another case would be Germany or France which are verydeveloped and touristy; hence English is widely spoken too.I admit that in these lands I haven’t had any trouble with my English, but thereis another kind of tourism which is passionate, exciting, astonishing, impressiveand English or even the own language of those countries are not enough tounderstand its residents. In Germany there is a blissful and unspoilt place called¨Spreewald¨ where a strange German-Polish-Czech mixture is spoken owing tothat the Polish and Czechoslovakian borders are next to its territory.I remember my experience in Poland where I checked that English was spokenjust in hotels. In restaurants I had to point with my finger choosing disheswithout knowing what I was asking for. Once they brought raw meat mixed withsauces, for me it looked disgusting. A taxi driver who brought me from Krakowto the Nazi death camp Auschwitz spoke to me in Polish. We tried tounderstand each other means gestures but our communication was impossible.He stopped his car in a restaurant, I came in with him and the man behind thecounter made the translations between us. In the bus station I wanted to knowwhat bus I had to take for Warsaw, but the employee spoke to me only inPolish. I went to the centre of the station and shouted several times ¨somebodycan speak English? then a young girl helped with the translation. It wasimpossible to speak to anybody. Although I addressed them in English, they
answered me in Polish and in the whole country things were like that.Sometimes I felt desperate. Anyway I attended Mass in the village where theprevious Pope was born, theatre plays performed in their language and manyother events.I love travelling alone, getting across the native people, doing the same thingsthan them, eating their meals but several times the communication turns into anadventure.Hardly a path of roses by Javier Contreras López I would be glad to say that my way to the Language School has been apath of roses, but reality strikes harder than Rocky Balboa’s punches. Being achild in an adult’s school is not a joyful situation. My, I hope short, run in the Language School started taking the level testfor the second year. My father and me, both of which expected me to pass thetest and get a place in the Language School, became very disappointed as wesaw my test results were not high enough to get one of the few places that wereavailable to enter the school. Not until a week after we started to find out asolution for that problem. It was my father who was really upset but tried toovercome the situation. There was something in the level test that was not fair and was that testresults from Language school in Elche weren’t suitable for the one inCrevillente. Seldom do people have the faith needed to keep fighting for whatthey think is fair, and that’s what my father did. So he was there in Crevillente,talking to the person in charge of Crevillente’s Language School and trying topersuade him to let me enter the school.
The most amazing thing of this story is that my father achieved it, andsacrificed himself to take me 2 days a week during a year from Elche toCrevillente just because he wanted me to enter the language school.
OBSESSION BY JORDI Actually, if I am honest with myself, I am not able to forget the precisemoments that this obsession began... *** I was only a child walking down a street with his father, who held my handfirmly but carefully. We usually strolled, but that day my father took me to aplace where we have not been before. There were a lot of shelves, which housesome strange objects that I did not know. Then, shocked by this new discovery,I asked my father where we were and he answered: «It is a library. Here, youcan borrow books and read them. It is an incredibly important place, becausethe books are the keepers of knowledge». I had heard about “books” before but I had not seen so many of them untilthat instant and, the most important thing: I did not know that they were theknowledge’s keepers. Without asking permission to my father, I approachedone of the bookshelves, I caught one of the books and I opened it... The resultwas really disappointing: there were only sheets covered with black blots. My father noticed my unsatisfied expression and said to me: «These blotsare letters and with them we form words. You speak a language, but you don’tknow hoe to read. When you go to school, you’ll learn to read and you’llunderstand the written words». I felt relieved. If I knew reading, I would comprehend all the wisdomcontained in books. *** Time after, my mother and I went to the market. The atmosphere wasloaded with a crowd of noises and voices, all mixed with the smells of the fish,the meat and the fruit. Suddenly, near to me, I heard some strange sounds. I was taken abackbecause I saw a man speaking but I could not understand his words.Immediately, I asked my mother why I was not able to comprehend him and shesaid to me: «He doesn’t speak our language. He’s a foreigner». I was terribly shocked. Until that moment, I had no idea that morelanguages, apart of mine, existed. My childish mind could not accept it: «Why?Why are there other languages?» My mother smiled to me, she did not perceive
my worry but she answered me: «The Bible tells that, long time ago, men triedto build a tower to reach the sky. God got furious because of their pride, so hemade that all the builders spoke different languages. As they couldn’tunderstand themselves, the confusion and chaos reigned and they couldn’tfinish their work... Since then, we’re condemned to learn other languages if wewant to understand each other...» *** This is mankind’s punishment... The languages in our world are like thestars in a black brilliant night: uncountable. Therefore, my dream and myobsessions is not easy, but I must try it. Maybe, one day, I will know all ourlanguages and I could read all the books and not their treacherous translations.Then, I will be the wisest man.
The yearned for moment by Ester GomarWhen you are a baby, you start to see things in a blurred way and listen todifferent voices and noises without rhyme or reason. Suddenly, like a ray oflight, the knowledge breaks through and the letters join and form syllables, andsyllables form words and beautiful sentences which describe the world and theirwonders and all the secrets that this planet had been hidden behind eachcorner.At this point, we’re arriving to the personal part of a universal story. I was verylucky and my soul fell in hot and bright part of an antique vast but run-downempire, dominated by a Latin language, the Spanish, a mean of communicationof old-fashioned conquerors or unforgettable artists, of corrupt mayors andfolklóricas with an ambiguous sexuality or a place with a rich nature anddelicious traditional food. Which is the response? Maybe we can find it insidethe heart of everyone of us.In our country, we enjoy an incredibly diversity of societies, all of whichhave helped to increase our cultural legacy. These circumstances shouldincrease our possibilities, although this doesnt always happen like that.In any case, I’m grateful with the opportunity of being bilingual in the land of theflowers, of the light and of the colour...(I’m only joking). Fortunately, I have a giftfor valenciano and this language opened its doors to me.Nowadays, English is my real bugbear and I’m continually trying to improveShakespeare language although the yearned for magic moment on which theknowledge breaks through, is still quite distant. However, better late than never!Finally, only to add that in a close future I wish I could speak and understandEnglish better and start and increase my goals in other languages. Will I be ableto do that? I don’t know, but if I could go back, I would do the same with thelanguages and I.
The battle without end by Pilar Quinto It was in 1970 that my tenacious battle against English began when I was only twelve-year-old.In those years during my incipient adolescence English started to be taught in secondaryschool.Although the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas in Elche already existed it was not since years afterthat I signed it and I went on learning English only as a subject of the high school and theuniversity, besides I got good marks without any effort because I enjoyed it.Once I had finished my university studies I started immediately to work, I was totally fortunate,otherwise I could not go abroad and improve my basic level of English as I had planned inadvance.Nearly three years later I was married and had opened two optician´s shops, as you canimagine it was hardly possible that I could have any chance to study English during this time.When a more relaxing time came my husband and I travelled a lot and I felt the imperiousnecessity of higher level of English. I signed a private English school for two years, there waswhere I spoke English in a real conversation first in my life and I vividly remember how nervousI got.Although this school was really good in new technologies of teaching English it was equallyexpensive and I looked for another cheaper way of learning with which I was given an officialrecognition as well, it was of course the Escuela oficial de Idiomas.I decided to make the previous exam which contained the first and second level, fortunately Ipassed it and for the third I attended to That´s English system with those tedious TV programsat seven o´clock in the morning which I had to record by the forgotten and ancient VHS systemand then to study them alone. Once again, not without effort I passed my exam.For the fourth everything was completely different from the previous, I was obligated toattend lessons, I could have given up learning English but I did not it and accepted thechallenge, it was really difficult for me to continue, seldom had I enough time for lunch.Although I passed my grammar exam, unfortunately I failed the oral one and I had to repeat.As I was used to keeping the pace I continued with my battle and began a new academic year,to make matters worse, suddenly I got pregnant with danger of miscarriage and the doctorsaid that I must have absolute rest; I was deeply frustrated.The time passed and it even became more difficult to me to return to study English and whenmy second son was born, it was absolutely impossible.It is said that nothing ventured nothing gained, I was so determined and courageous personthat when my older son was nine year old I returned to the Escuela, I was said that there wasno vacancy for me, I thought “it does not matter, I will study another language “ that is to say
that I registered in Arabic. A part from the fact that I was enjoying my new language I missedlearning English too.Suddenly, when a month had passed, the director of the studies made me a phone call to tellme that there was a vacancy in Primero de Avanzado, as my old “Cuarto” is known nowadays, Ihardly could believe it but a new opportunity of fulfilling my objectives was being given to me.Immediately I went to attend my English lessons, I had thirst of learning and once more Ipassed my exam. In this level I had a highly efficient and enthusiastic teacher, I will not tell youher name but her name´s first letter is "I ".Fortunately I passed and a new challenge started, this year was definitely the last butunfortunately I failed my Examen de Certificación, in spite of the fact that I had got my ten percent from my teacher it was not possible.Actually I am repeating and have a really competent and ingenious teacher again whose name´s first letter is “I” too, so I firmly believe that I will pass my exam.It is important for me to say that the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas has encouraged me to keep upwith today´s new technologies and the vast array of activities for learning languages in TheInternet because years before it was not as easier than now to buy an English book or to watchan English film.Furthermore the exams and teaching system have been positively pointed towards a moreintuitive and useful way of learning a new language.
Languages and I by Laura Domingo ComesIf I have to tell you about languages and I, the first thing I must do is go back to a few yearsago. First of all, when I was eighteen, I liked writing a lot; actually, I wanted to be a journalist,but I had to study in a private university and it was very expensive. On the other hand, I hadsometimes helped my mates at school to study English since I was twelve years old and, finally,I discovered I loved learning languages at secondary school.A special teacher taught me the most important things I have learnt about how you can love alanguage and, so far, a culture. I was fascinated by the history of the land where I had beenborn and, in spite of it not being my family language because I was a Spanish speaker, Idecided to study Catalan Philology at university: Spanish language, literature and history werethe only ones I have learnt in my life, so I decided it would be a positive change.During five years I discovered it is extremly difficult becoming bilingual, but I knew it is one ofthe most interesting challenges a person can accept, too. I listened to new sounds and Iimproved my oral expression day by day. Two years later I felt I wanted to try it with Frenchand I was studying this language, which is very similar to Catalan, for three academic courses; Irealized the more languages you know, the easier is learning another one and, lost in theseideas, I returned to English in 2005.I had always liked English a lot when I was at school, so I thought that it would be fantasticincreasing my knowledge about this Germanic language. It is supposed I am going to finish myapprenticeship this year but, if I think for a while, I know because of my own experience younever stop learning a language although it is yours. Nowadays I am a teacher working withteenagers who are studying Valencian with me, and this is the amazing fact I hope my pupilsunderstand. In this way, they will enjoy it!
Languages & me by Rosa Pérez García.If I found a lamp with its genius and I had the chance of making a wish…..One of my wisheswould be, the gift of being able to speak all languages.Since I was a child I have always been in love with languages, in fact, in the primaryschool….when I was 6 or 7 years old, I used to say to my friends that I could speak English &French (of course I made it up)……so arrogant I was, nevertheless one day a new girl came tomy school, she came from Switzerland, she spoke French and obviously I didn’t, so I gotdiscovered……..it was terribly embarrassing!It was during the adolescence or as we say in Spanish “the turkey’s age” that suddenly I wasdeeply keen on music, I loved, still loving, the Irish (U2), they were the main reason why Iwanted to learn English. I loved their music but I wanted to know what the messages wereabout and with my little English-dictionary, I used to spent hours and hours trying to translatethe lyrics, of course I did not get the results that I expected but it was great fun.During this period of time I realized that the world was bigger than my village and that therewere so many countries to visit, people to meet and things to discover, I needed a tool to copewith and from my point of view, it was the language. I took it seriously and started to go to theSchool of Languages.Later on, when I was independent enough I started to travel the world and it was magnificentto be able to get in touch with people from all over the world, other cultures, through thelanguage, even if we don’t share the same one, everybody makes an effort and do one’s part.During the time I’ve been taking lessons in the School I’ve met amazing people not onlyclassmates but also teachers, to whom I will always be grateful for their support, and havemade good friends with whom I still keep in touch..Learning a language has been a delightful experience in my life, so that I encourage mydaughters, my friends and everybody to learn languages, I find it essential in order to enjoyliving in this fortunately multicultural, diverse, amazing world.
Funny children by Silvia Asencio MorenoTwenty-five years ago there was a ten-year-old child studying at school. So farquite typical, but that young girl was me. I was a very ordinary girl, shier thanothers but neither more nor less clever than her classmates.On the first day of that new year at school, I was extremely excited (as I was onevery first day). I loved changes and doing new things. That’s why I had highexpectations about the new year. The new one would be full of challenges andinteresting knowledge to acquire.My teacher introduced us to a new classmate. Her name sounded really weird butinteresting at the same time. She was French! The first thought that crossed mymind when I saw her was: “Will I get on well with her?”. My excitement wasgrowing and growing. Month by month I felt more and more comfortable with mynew friend, She made me feel different, but in a positive way this time. Myclassmates always wanted to sit beside me when our teacher gave us a test tocheck how much we knew about the new foreign classmate. This situation made mefeel important, a feeling which was totally new to me. That is the reason why ourfriendship became closer and closer day by day.Nevertheless, I was finishing high school when I realised that our lives had tofollow different paths. I bitterly disliked this idea, but I knew that although itwas the most important decision I have ever taken, I was forced to do it for myfuture.I certainly knew my French friend would always be in my mind, and that I couldcall her whenever I wanted. She will always be there to help me.Thus, after having taken this important decision, I decided to meet other people,to make richer my mind. That’s why I went to a new class (remember how much Iloved changes) to meet a new friend, an English one this time.As my teacher introduced us to our new friend, I began to feel more and moreuncomfortable. She spoke in strange, difficult words. I thought I’d never be ableto understand her, so I missed my old French friend even more than ever, askingmyself why I’d let her go.Anyway, the decision was taken and I had to go ahead.
The then little child, today a woman, is still trying to get on with the strangeEnglish friend. The relationship is not as close and as comfortable as the one I hadwith my older French friend. Nevertheless, after six years of an intense, awkwardrelationship, I know I have to make one final effort and finish this year to openlysay that I have done the best I can with my English friend.My hopes slowly decrease because being her friend requires so much time.Despite this, I’ll fight with all my strength to the end to achieve my goal.To finish the story I have to say that I know the end is coming soon and, if Ireach my objective, I’ll know that my two friends will stay in my mind forever,helping me to be able to communicate with people wherever I go, all over theworld.
Music inspired me to learn by FernandoLanguage is a way of communicate between us. It is in our life since we get born, and we learnit with the pass of the time. In my case, I have learnt 3 different languages. Spanish, Englishand Valencian. Spanish is my native language, because all my family (except my grandfather)speaks Spanish. I learned English and Valencian at school, and as I said, my grandfather speaksmost of the time in Valencian.When I was young, I was good at English, and I always play videogames in English, becausethere was almost none in Spanish. With the help of an Oxford Spanish/English dictionary, Istarted to feel interest and going beyond English school lessons.Later, I started to enjoy music in English, especially bands like Oasis, The Beatles, Coldplay,Muse, The Killers... so every day I listen the English language and I keep going with English.When I travelled out of Spain, I had no problem with languages thanks to English. Most ofpeople can speak English and can help you when you have to ask for monuments, restaurants,or something typical about the place.
Curiosity lead me to languages by Cristina Maestre PomaresAs a child I always spend the summer holidays on the sea with my family. At home, wecouldn’t afford to travel abroad like families often do today, so the opportunity to get intouch with others languages was hardly ever available. Only until the development oftourism in that region of Spain, Alicante began.I remember how fascinated I was by all those people who were speaking bizarre next tome. I couldn’t understand how their childrens didn’t use the same words as I did.I wondered why they call the usual things with all those extrange words.The most amazing thing was that eventhough we didn’t speak the same language, weinvariably managed to have a good time together on the beach.This experience in my childhood has always aroused my curiosity for others languagesand cultures. The result of that was that throughout fourteen years I was living inforeign lands.First of all I went to England where I spent four hazy years. At first I just wanted tospare a few weeks there, the time to enjoy learning a bit of English. I had just finishedmy studies at the university and I didn’t have any perspective of work in the short-term.I thought it was a good moment to live my fantasy of living abroad on my own.As I believed in my childhood I thought that communication will be flowing in a veryshort time. However, once there, I saw how my dream was shattered. During the firstthree months I refused to admit the need of academic help. I expected to learn only bytalking to other people.Soon I plunged in a turbulent state of mind. I couldn’t follow the conversation aroundme and when someone talked to me directly I couldn’t avoid to seem disturbed by mylack of words: I felt slow and stupid.
My character became moody and I felt into depression. I had to react if I wanted tosurvive and finally I went to an English school. Once I started in the English school theblack became blue and I began enjoying my time in England for the first time since Iarrived. Later on I was living in France where I spent ten years of my life. But that was anotherexperience and another history I’ll tell you next time.