Sensitivities - HEIKE, Student in Switzerland - Nov 2021
Updated: Feb 14
Looking for any school to improve your language skills is normally quite easy. There are thousands of providers, institutions and private teachers vying for the attention of potential students. Finding the right school for your needs, on the other hand, is not as easy as it seems.
I am fifty years old and I have been looking for a school that would be willing to satisfy the requirements of people like me. As I have more and more international customers from different countries I need English for my photography business. I wanted to see fast and useful improvements as well.
I was willing to work hard, but I have been out of school and education for nearly 30 years now. Not used to learning vocabulary and doing grammar exercises hour by hour, I was afraid of dry and boring topics as well as sitting in a classroom with a group of 16-year-old kids who might feel uncomfortable with an old lady like me among their peers.
As I am self-employed I was also not sure if I would be able to spend several hours on homework on a regular basis. Not, that I couldn`t have handled these situations. I just didn`t want to. To be really honest, I am not the kind of person who likes to compromise.
Another, almost one of my worst fears, was ending up in a group of older people who didn't really want to learn, but saw attending a language school as a leisure activity and therapy against boredom in retirement.
During my search I came across hundreds of websites with various offers. Nothing seemed to fit for me and the more websites I explored, the more my motivation shrank. If you don't fit into any target group, you are somehow really lost with the wide range of offers.
By chance I found WISE. This school is situated in Weybridge which is a small town next to the suburbs of London. Someone told me it was the area of England where the most sophisticated English was spoken.
As somebody who has met me may already have noticed, my spoken English is more a kind of intercultural language mixture than a structured, clear language. You can surely imagine that I urgently needed to work on the sound of my “Swiss-German-English-Something“ accent.
Of course, there was some initial hesitation from my side. I did the online test first…just to find out how my English skills were doing. And to see if people there had any solutions for my worries.Then I got in touch with Liz and from the beginning I experienced a different style of communication with me as a prospective student. She highly recommended the upcoming class of Kate and I felt in the right place from the beginning. The class has students of several ages and nationalities. From the beginning I felt warmly welcomed.
Kate teaches open-mindedly in a professional, but highly flexible way. She chooses topics based on our needs. None of us needs to be ashamed of asking a question, no matter how stupid it is. Her patience knows almost no bounds.
It is necessary to mention, that you not only improve your English skills when you are taught by a native speaker, but also you almost automatically learn a lot about the more-or-less subtle nuances in the expression, handling and habits of another culture.
HEIKE, Student in Switzerland