So, I’ve stuck to my rules and booked the Spanish Survival Course at International House in Covent Garden to prepare for my trip to Argentina. The class is designed for those going on holiday or on business trips and is five weeks of two-hours a week intensive lessons.
Doing a class as an adult – simply because you want to learn something new – is a totally different phenomena from school/uni/mother-enforced piano lessons, etc. For a start, everyone actually wants to be there voluntarily and whereas at school forgetting your homework had a certain kudos, it doesn’t seem very clever when you’re paying for the course. I soon reverted to my childhood self – I realise that I like answering questions and pick up things quickly and like going at a fast pace. I’m also horribly impatient and a perfectionist and would make an appalling teacher. I had flashbacks to school days, sitting near the front of the class, hand in the air. And then I realised – oh my god I’m suuuch a geek! But its because I like learning. There’s something about the challenge of figuring out new things – that feeling of “ahhhh I GET it” – that makes you really satisfied. And as an adult, the realisation that you aren’t old and forgetful from all those years of wine or clubbing or babies – your brain still works and it works pretty well. You clever little thing, you.
So back to the Spanish class. Its no coincidence that my two fellow students are off to South America too and our teacher is from Columbia. Its great to learn about specific slang and cultural differences, so I’m less likely to offend and more likely to get on with the locals. I’m on class 3 now and enjoying it massively – we’ve done introductions, numbers (shouting out the 3 times table in Spanish while playing catch the ball = one of the funniest things I’ve done all week), what to order in a bar and how to say “I’m hot” rather than “I’m on heat“… I feel much more prepared for my trip and look forward to learning more. On Tuesday 7 – Thursday 9 September 2010, International House is offering free taster classes in various languages – if you’re thinking about starting a language class I’d really recommend you try it.
I would totally recommend doing an adult class – preferably something completely unconnected to your day job that you are only doing because you are interested in it. Next year I’d like to try a creative class like history of art or jewellery-making or something about writing or poetry. And part of me wants to learn Swedish massage just to be a hit at parties. Anyway, some interesting venues that do adult classes in London are:
- YMCA by Tottenham Court Road does everything from massage to juggling to public speaking to jewellery-making.
- City Lit in Holborn does varied and cheap courses from humanities to writing to languages, including at evenings and weekends. It always comes highly recommended and the people who work there are always lovely (I only didn’t do their Spanish course because the times didn’t suit as well).
- School of Life in Bloomsbury – interesting lectures and breakfast briefings on happiness, life and love – am dying to go (read Tired of London, Tired of Life’s post).
- Zoom In – good photography courses in South London (read my review).