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By Trudi Hayes, Swiss Language Centre

We are super happy to have Trudi Hayes as one of our new bloggers. To get her started, she has introduced the company she is working for and her blogs will be centered around Languages and Learning

Why learning a new language is a necessity

The current pandemic has nudged people to research and try out new activities to ‘mentally escape’ the day-to-day monotony we can sometimes feel during these restrictive covid times.

It has given some people the chance to finally tackle lifelong goals or has made others recognize the value in growing and improving themselves, and in giving themselves new opportunities that will help them succeed both during and after these times of uncertainty.

One of the most popular activities has been learning a new language, with mobile apps reporting huge increases in users, and schools dealing with unprecedented demand.

But why would language lessons suddenly become so important?

It basically comes down to the fact that being able to converse in and understand a foreign language helps in both your personal and professional development.

As Manager of a Swiss Language Centre in Geneva (Ecole Suisse d’Allemand, Swiss French School and Wall Street English), I have seen large numbers of students who are now “reinventing” themselves.

They are reconsidering (by choice or by force) their professional or academic plans and they understand now just how important mastering a new language can be.

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Trudi with Mikael Maruotto from Geneva Lions Basketball Team

I have met expats that have been in Switzerland for several years and who are only now realizing that their best chance to grow (or to even to renew their residence permit!) is to learn the local language (whether its French or German).

I have even seen people that decide to start learning a language because they miss the idea of the “foreign” and “social” elements in their lives. They want to be distracted from lockdowns, meet new people, and feel less isolated.

That is why it is so important. It has now become more of a necessity on a personal, professional, and even a psychological level.

What is the best way to learn a foreign language?

In the past, learning almost any subject meant going through traditional classroom teaching. Learning languages in particular meant spending years attending teacher-led classes, full of uninterested students at varying levels and hoping that all the information thrown at us would ‘stick’ and stay there until the next class.

This type of learning might suit some people. But only a limited amount of people - and it can take ages…

I am shocked by the number of people that studied a foreign language all the way through high school (for around 6-7 years) and despite all their efforts and years of study, are still only at beginner levels when they graduate!

The advancement of technology and the development of education studies have brought forth a wide variety of solutions that fix this issue. I am however a true believer in the “Flipped Blended Learning Method”.

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It is fun, engaging, and effective and follows the way in which we learned our own native language.

The best part? It can work for every type of learner! People who wish to learn at home or online. People that need a fixed schedule or that search for a class when they happen to have free time. Learners that need to be alone with a teacher or that wish to have a fun social experience.

It provides a structured blend of interactive multimedia lessons, small classes with a teacher focused on communication, conversation classes and social workshops and a full support team to guide students towards their goals.

As with everything, I would encourage anyone with the project of mastering a new language to diligently research what the best option is for them.

I welcome readers that have any questions or that would like to discuss about language learning to contact me. I would love to share a coffee together (be it online or at our lovely centre).

Swiss Language Group
Trudi Hayes, Centre Director
Rue de Lausanne 20bis
1201 Genève
022 738 11 41

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Author bio

Trudi HayesTrudi Hayes is the Director of Swiss Language Group in Geneva, which comprises of three schools. Wall Street English, Swiss French School and Ecole Suisse d’Allemand. Trudi has a background in client relationship and service management and is a qualified English teacher. She and her team of language consultants help students find the best language courses for them, according to their individual objectives and requirements.