Here at the English Language Center, we understand that coming to another country is difficult, particularly when you may not be able to speak the language of that country very well. Therefore, we know our students are passionate about learning English and foreign languages.
That being the case, while all of our students are passionate, every now and then we have the pleasure of meeting students whose dedication to and appreciation of foreign languages really inspires us. 17-year-old Alexandre de Vial is one such student and we had the pleasure of talking to him more in-depth about his love of languages. (Interview conducted by Assistant Student Services Coordinator Alexandra Mathieu.)
Alexandra Mathieu: How many languages can you speak?
Alexandre de Vial: I can speak 3 languages, English, French, and German. I can speak English and French very well. German is harder to learn but I keep working on my German.
AM: Which language have you found the most difficult to learn?
ADV: The most difficult to learn is German because of the grammar rules but it’s a very interesting language to learn.
AM: Why do you like learning languages?
ADV: I really enjoy learning for several reasons. The first one is because it opens your mind. The second one is that it enables you to communicate with the world. Therefore it makes you learn about different cultures. And the last reason is that to me it’s very amazing to be able to speak different languages.
AM: Is there another language that you do not currently speak that you plan to learn next?
ADV: The next language I may choose could be Spanish or maybe Japanese or Arabic. But I think there is more chance that’ll be Spanish.
AM: What is your biggest worry about learning a new language?
ADV: My biggest worry about learning a new language is to be lost. I know it’s going to happen at the beginning but I also know that you have to work hard to learn and feel comfortable with a language. It just takes time.
AM: What makes a language beautiful to you?
ADV: The thing makes a language beautiful for me is the way you speak the language. It’s very beautiful when someone speaks clearly and normally (good speed, not too fast or too slow).
AM: In your opinion, how can schools (in France or around the world) improve the way they teach languages?
ADV: One thing that’s very, very important is to not judge students when they make mistakes otherwise they will be scared to try and they will never improve their language. In fact it’s better to explain how to improve than just blaming. It’s also very important for teachers to teach in a very simple way to make students comfortable. Simple doesn’t mean easy though!
AM: If you could give one piece of advice to someone trying to learn a foreign language, what would it be?
ADV: The best advice I can give from my personal experience is when you are learning a new language, try to do everything in that language. For example, if you’re learning English, think, read, write, and listen in English. It will make you improve efficiently. And don’t be scared to go forward!