Learning English as an adult.
By José Roberto Vieira
Doing a foreign language exchange after age 30 can be a risky option. You may already have a stable career, children, a home, car and strong ties to your country, any of which will make you think even harder before you make any drastic decisions.
However, an exchange is still one of the best ways to get to know other cultures and learn other languages. And of course, boldness in those who seek leadership positions is always highly regarded by companies.
And few things are considered more challenging than a foreign exchange. For teenagers, everything is an adventure, a discovery and fun. For youth, it is knowledge, experience, and new horizons. For those 30 and over however, the focus is different. At 30, you need to stabilize yourself in the work market and make your name known in your area of expertise. The experience of a language exchange will look good on your résumé.
In a “Basic English” class, you can take your first steps in the exchange and test your English capabilities. It prepares you for what is to come; this is your training for these new experiences where you can put your improvisational capabilities to the test. The weak point of basic English courses is that, in their majority, the students are teenagers and their main interest is the liberty that they have without their parents there.
Sometimes there is no getting around the fact that the only available classes are those with a lot of teenagers, and you have to deal with it. But a good experience can be taken from this situation: “rejuvenating” the mind, and learning things. On the other hand, you need to focus. At thirty, the chance of your errors hurting you are much greater.
What should you do if your class does not meet your needs? Besides basic English, most schools offer TOELF, IELTS, Business English and Pre-Degree courses. Generally, students in these courses already have prior experience with languages. So if you are not afraid to take a risk or believe that with more difficulties the better your English will become, don’t be afraid of these levels. Even the methodology of these classes is different and guarantees better learning for the student.
In any case, it is always better to keep in mind the motives for studying and what you wish for the future when studying English abroad.
José Roberto Vieira is writer, author of the book O Baronato de Shoah, a graduate in Literature and Journalism. Has lived in Canada for four months with the objective to perfect his English and open new professional doors..