Monday, October 09, 2006

Foreign Language Learning - It's Never Too Late!!

Herbert is 85 years young this year. For the past ten years he has been attending language courses in France and Spain, living in the home of a Eurolingua Tutor. He says "I prefer to go on study abroad programs while my wife goes on cruises"!!

This is not untypical of a significant trend for the 'troisième âge' generation. The over 55's want to learn foreign languages. Why? Mainly for travel and cultural interest. People in this age group are usually well established in their professional life, if not already retired. Consequently, they have the financial means and time availability to improve their foreign language education and cultural experiences – abroad!!

Even total beginners can make fantastic progress by attending a language program in the country where the language is spoken. It is one thing to spend a spend a few hours a week in local classes in your hometown. It is quite another to spend a few hours a week in classes in a foreign city, surrounded by the language and culture 24 hours a day – bars, cinemas, restaurants, everywhere you go. Even more so, where you choose to stay with a local host family on a half or full board basis. Practice your new vocabulary and phrases with your welcoming host while sharing an evening meal French, Italian or Spanish style!! This is really total immersion. You can't fail to make giant strides in your spoken language.

Many mature students prefer to live in their personal tutor's private home, becoming a member of the family for one to four weeks at any time if year. This is a relaxed way to learn and absorb the local culture and yet with specific time set aside for individual and well-qualified instruction.

Study abroad programs for the over 55's have changed the face of language classes around the world. No longer is it possible to think of classes monopolized by the young!! And, do you know? Everybody benefits. The bonding and team spirit that develops in a class of ten students from 18 years to 65 years, has to be witnessed to be believed.

And it's not only language and culture. Many programs offer lessons in, for example, French, Spanish or Italian cuisine. Learn how to cook those wonderful dishes and surprise your friends back home. How about a few lessons in Flamenco dancing or Salsa while you brush up your Spanish? Take a historical tour of castles in Germany or Chateaux in France. See Red Square and the Kremlin, the Vatican in Rome; the Pont du Gard; the Giralda in Seville. Of course, everybody's favorite is wine tasting and appreciation or "dégustation de vins".

Knowledge of foreign languages turns 'tourists' into 'travelers'. Experience the culture of your preferred country from the inside and open up a whole new world through a better knowledge of its language. How much more welcome you will be even with a simple Bonjour or Guten Tag – and it's never too late to learn and enjoy!!


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