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July 13th, 2021
Olivia Bevan – Where Languages have Taken Me
Like most children in the UK, when I was younger learning a foreign language never really seemed like a skill that I needed to have. I distinctly remember the language lessons in primary school being an opportunity for most kids to just switch off or mess about; the focus just wasn’t there due to the way we were being taught. It was all about vocab or watching strange videos in French that didn’t click with us because we couldn’t recognise anything we were being shown. For example, rather than watching cartoons that we knew and loved that had been dubbed in French or subtitled, we were presented with characters that we didn’t know and didn’t really care for. They just didn’t click! As a result, as I presume most of my year group did, I left primary school without much of a care for languages.

This all changed when I started high school. I always really enjoyed English, being more creative and wordier than mathematically minded, and it was around this time that I realised I was good at foreign languages as well, because of the connections that it had with my own language and how it made me think about grammar and word order in English. It also helped that I had good teachers, one of whom was particularly formidable but amazing at making me realise my talent for languages and encouraging my love for them. I ended up pursuing both French and German at GCSE and then going on to being the only person in Year 13 to study both languages at A-Level, where I got an A in French and a B in German (I never could quite pin down the grammar!) What stood out to me though was how much of an anomaly I was, as pretty much everyone dropped languages after GCSE, saying how much they hated them because of how difficult they were.

And whilst I still loved languages, I could definitely understand where everyone else was coming from. When I started university, I didn’t feel like my prior education had really prepared me for how difficult language study at university was going to be. Suddenly the grammar seemed harder than ever before, we were expected to understand medieval French in our first year and most of the books we read were from the 18th or 19thCentury! No matter how difficult it was, it was all worth it for the year abroad, when I spent 6 and a half months in Heidelberg in Germany from Aug 2018 – Feb 2019 and then 5 months in Strasbourg in 2019. Despite often getting fed up with how difficult language learning can be, my time abroad sparked a fire me to keep going with them and I’m now determined to use my French and German in my future career in any way possible.

Cue starting with BilinguaSing! Graduating with the class of 2020, I was essentially chucked back out into the pandemic and all the doors to my future seemed shut. After what felt like months and months of searching for a role, I was hired in May of 2021 by BilinguaSing as part of the Kickstarter programme. I was thrilled that I had finally found something post uni that would actually involve my language skills, whilst giving me great experience to add to my CV. Working with BilinguaSing has definitely reinforced to me how important it is to start language learning at a young age, being reminded of how late me and my school friends started and how we struggled as a result. I’m very happy to be part of a like-minded community who realise how essential it is for more children to learn languages and stick with them throughout their education.

So, who are we? BilinguaSing is the UK’s only music-led, fully holistic, multi-sensory programme for teaching languages to babies and children from birth to 11 years. Our multi award-winning French, Spanish, German and Italian classes combine music and motion with language learning in a way that’s fun – both for children and their grown-ups! We always include sensory play to further boost their brain development and learning. We also run lots of sessions in nurseries and pre-schools, as well as primary school lunchtime and after-school clubs. So your child can stay with BilinguaSing right up until they go off to secondary school!

If you want to give your child an amazing sensory head start to their development, visit the BilinguaSing website, where you can join our mailing list and get your hands on some of our brilliant free resources! Just follow this link.

If you want even more language-loving content, then head over to our free BilinguaSing Family Facebook Group – for free interactive fun mini lessons and pronunciation tips for grown-ups!

I hope languages will take you and your little ones on a brand-new, amazing journey; thanks for reading!

Olivia Bevan

Olivia is a 2020 Modern Languages & Cultures grad from Durham University, specialising in French and German. She is currently working as a Digital Marketing Intern for BilinguaSing.
Visit the BilinguaSing website

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