Learn something new at Hull Language Café

Published: Wednesday 8th November 2017 by Courtney Farrow

Comments (0)

The Hull Language Café runs every Wednesday and is the perfect chance to brush up on your foreign language skills.

We caught up with organiser Hannah Shaw to find out more about the group.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Hull Language Café?

The Hull Language Café is a language exchange night, which is open to the whole community. It’s free to attend and we have no age or ability limits.

We’ve had lots of different people attend – from sixth formers to retirees, as well as nationalities from all over the globe.

How does it work?

You come along, get a label with the languages you would like to practice or can help others with, and then sit down and find someone to chat with. And because we meet at Lydia’s cafe, you can do all this with a cuppa and a slice of cake too.

Fantastic! How did the idea come about?

When I lived abroad in France and Germany, the language exchange concept was very popular and it was how I made a lot of my friends. I really enjoyed meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds and when I returned to the UK, I missed having the opportunity to practice languages.

I tried to find something similar but the nearest was in Leeds or York, so I decided to set up my own exchange night. At first, I was worried no one would come along, but ever since our first night in February 2015 we’ve grown considerably, and there are more and more people coming along each week.

Why do you think language learning is so important?

For me personally, it provides so many opportunities in life that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’ve lived abroad and travelled a lot, and I found it a lot more rewarding being able to speak the language and really get to know the ‘locals’.

I think, especially in the UK, languages are important because if I have learnt anything, it’s that everyone does not speak English. People really appreciate it if you can speak a few words to them.

It’s not always easy to learn another language, but the rewards are amazing. There are also lots of scientific studies showing the benefits of language learning, including improved memory, lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia, and better multitasking skills.

It also definitely improves your native language knowledge, especially grammar.

What is your favourite thing about learning languages?

I would say all the lovely people that I have been able to meet along the way, plus all of the experiences I’ve had. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of these things if I was just an English-speaking tourist. For example, taking part in traditional celebrations.

But secretly my favourite thing is being able to understand people’s conversations when they don’t expect you to – just a few weeks ago I was listening in on a group of French girls in Primark!

What would you say to a complete newbie to encourage them to take part?

I would say to anyone, of any ability, to just come along. Sometimes people like to just sit and listen in the first week or so, and that is absolutely fine. You can wait until you feel more confident to join in.

But I would also say it is not like language lessons at school – there is no pressure to say everything perfectly and no one will laugh if you make a mistake. We are all learners together.

The Hull Language Café runs every Wednesday at Lydia’s on Newland Avenue from 7pm until 9pm. Entry is absolutely free. To find out more, please visit their Facebook page

Enjoy more Hull and East Yorkshire news on HEY Today

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Published: Wednesday 8th November 2017 by Courtney Farrow

Comments (0)

Local business search