News & Events
Learning A New Language – Two Bold Steps At A Time
- September 9, 2017
- Posted by: Elizabeth Akpan
- Category: News
The last three months have seen ALU Mauritius welcome the first batch of its 2017 cohort – the English Immersion (EI) students. The “Welcome” by students on campus received Obrigado and Merci from the lips of the EI students. Learning is a growth process that takes one step at a time, but our courageous EI students are challenging cliches. It is a process that takes two steps at a time – getting used to a new environment and learning a new language.
Learning is a process that happens to us whether or not planned. But, sometimes, learning is a decision one makes due to situations we find ourselves. For Braulo, one of the EI students, waiting for his connecting flight at the Dubai International Airport and the need for a common language to communicate with brought him the realisation that English is a language he has to learn. His experience at the airport motivated him to start learning the English language in his home country – Angola before he joined the English Immersion Program. In his words, “Learning English is like acquiring a new vision. When you learn English, it helps you learn and interact with different people from diverse backgrounds.”
At other times, learning is simply a culture of immersing yourself in a place and, for Mukandz, who is interested in photography, taking pictures of people on ALU’s campus in Mauritius has afforded him the opportunity to interact a lot with people and also immerse himself in the new environment he finds himself. Mariano also shares a similar experience, “Learning English language at ALU pushes me to talk to others, and this has helped me learn about myself and others and make friends from various nationalities”. The EI students have also been involved in a lot of extracurricular activities, for instance, hiking, going to support Angola in a football match against Mauritius, taking walks to the beach while etching beautiful memories on their hearts.
Getting stuck, trying to string words together to form sentences, is an experience they are all familiar with, and the students paint a perfect illustration of how they stay motivated using that of a child learning to walk. It’s in falling and trying again. Never giving up, despite the initial awkwardness.
The staff here at ALU have conversations on Wednesdays, over dinner with the EI students to see how well they are settling into the environment and learning the English language. Anishta, a staff member, spoke on how “interacting with the EI students had been a very enjoyable experience. The students were eager to learn more from us, and they came out of their comfort zone to embrace that moment of discovery. The enthusiasm, drive, and passion those students demonstrated are exactly what we hoped for in an ALU student.”
Learning does not come cheap and requires quite a few sacrifices. Koffi opines that communication is a survival skill and learning to speak the English language is more important than writing. According to him, it feels the key to mastery is:
“Listening in class, learning from classmates, talking with others and most importantly, personal determination”.
While they may not have gained total mastery of the language yet, our English Immersion students are a great proof of the saying by Helen Hayes, “An expert in anything was once a beginner,” and very much a source of inspiration.