Tell us who you are, where you live, your nationality and how long you’ve been learning a language with us.
I’m a Medical Historian, I’m British and I live in Dorset, and I’ve been learning Spanish with Coffee Break for a year. I back up my Coffee Break lessons with a weekly Spanish class in Bournemouth.
Which language or languages are you learning with Coffee Break?
What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?
I learned French at school and have always done ‘top up’ French classes. However, my favourite ‘go to’ place is Las Alpujarras, a region of the Sierra Nevada in southern Spain where the walking is wonderful and where I now have friends. I was ashamed that I couldn’t speak Spanish and decided to do something about it, especially as many of the European students that I have taught have been impressively multi-lingual.
What are your favourite memories of learning a language?
A highlight for me was being able to truly consider a Spanish person a ‘friend’ because I could miraculously converse with her in her own language (albeit in rather simple Spanish) and share something of her culture. And, of course, being understood in cafés, shops and museums is both satisfying and confidence building. I also love being able to read books by Spanish authors in their original language.
Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom?
I’d love to speak to the fabulous Flamenco dancer Sara Baras in the Patio de los Leones (Courtyard of the Lions) in the Alhambra Palace, Granada.
What’s the best language-learning tip you have found works for you?
I write very short stories and plays in Spanish. These are great for inventing dialogue, working in different tenses, and doing something creative with the language. Needless to say, my reading and writing skills are currently better than my speaking skills although I am learning not to worry overmuch about making mistakes in conversation.
Quick Fire Round
- Your favourite language: Spanish
- Your favourite word or phrase in the language: Tinao – roofed area for relaxing outside
- Do you have a favourite film, TV show, book or singer in the language? Hija de la Fortuna by Isabel Allende
- Your favourite destination to practise your language: Las Alpujarras