BONJOUR, OLÁ, HOLA, ATLANTA!

PERFECT YOUR FOREIGN LANGUAGE SKILLS

PERFECT YOUR FOREIGN LANGUAGE SKILLS FOR WORK OR FUN!

PERFECT YOUR FOREIGN LANGUAGE SKILLS
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The world’s become a smaller place, thanks to technology that can, in seconds, connect friends and coworkers from opposite sides of the planet. And with that connectivity has come the reality, according to researchers at University College of London, that English is now the global lingua franca.

That’s good news for travelers, entrepreneurs and execs doing business in foreign lands. But at the same time, there’s something intimate and rewarding about speaking to someone in their non-English native tongue.

Huraiyah Ahmed, director of the Atlanta International Language Institute, said that intimacy is often what brings adult learners to the Sandy Springs center. “I think it’s a core part of human development to want to engage with the world and other cultures,” she says. “And that often means they have an interest in learning other languages.”

Ahmed, who has led AILI since 2012, grew up in Atlanta learning several languages. “My parents believed in the strength of education, so I learned French, Arabic, Spanish and some Latin. They exposed me to different books, and the stories made me want to learn more about languages. Even now, there’s always something new to learn.”

At AILI, classes for adults and children are offered in 26 languages, and instructors are available for group and private sessions in 39 languages with less general interest, such as Hindi. Small groups meet mornings, afternoons and on weekends, while one-on-one instruction can be arranged to meet a student’s schedule. Each language is taught on nine skill levels with prices starting at $300 per 10-week session.

The options are the reasons people sign up for classes, Ahmed says. “A lot of times it’s career motivated; a real estate agent might want to learn Spanish, for instance. Others want to expand their minds culturally, or they plan on visiting a place and want to know the language.”

Lincoln De Oliveira, CEO of the Atlanta Institute of Language on Lenox Road, oversees group classes in nine languages, and he spends time coaching members of the film industry on their speaking skills. But the majority of his clients are adults from their late 20s to 50s.

“Prior to the pandemic, French was the top language, but when clients couldn’t travel overseas, Spanish became first, followed by French and Portuguese,” he says. “The majority are traveling to Central and South America where they have family members or friends, or where they might be looking for places to retire. If you go away from the big cities, the locals [may not] speak English.”

While Atlanta is home to a number of schools, institutes and private companies ready to get speakers beyond “bonjour,” some adults may hesitate to sign up: They’ve heard the theories that learning another language gets tougher with age.

“The truth is, adults are just busy: They have kids, jobs and social commitments,” she says. “Making extra time to study can be difficult. That’s the biggest challenge.”

Watching movies and TV shows might help, but Ahmed isn’t convinced it’s the best approach. “Are you going to watch over and over to learn the words? The most helpful thing I tell students is to make time from 7 to 7:30 a.m. just to listen to a vocabulary list. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Even that exposure for 10 or 15 minutes a day, five days a week, can make a real difference.”

ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE INSTITUTE
404.250.0350
languageatlanta.com

ATLANTA INSTITUTE OF LANGUAGE
404.444.1532
ailanguage.org
@atlantainstituteoflanguage

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