Learning a foreign language

It certainly can! If you enjoy a challenge, new ideas, don't mind making mistakes, can play around with strange sounds...

You really open your mind, and there are a lot of laughs along the way!

Euroasia courses are designed for professionals who juggle their busy work lives and academic pursuits. This is why we will not subject our clients to boring lectures on obscure grammar points. If you desire a highly interactive language course where there's really no time to be bored, then consider coming to Euroasia.

Spanish. We consistently have more students for Spanish than for the other languages. Although in the past we used to have more learners of French and German, we have found that more New Zealanders are now interested in Spanish. Why is this? It could be because Latin America is fast becoming a popular travel destination. Spanish culture is also becoming more mainstream. Just look at the number of tapas bars and salsa schools in town. New Zealand also has a Free Trade Agreement with Chile and does a lot of business with Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish is also perceived to be a relatively easy language to learn.

A related question is "Which is the fastest growing language?" The answer is Chinese Mandarin. Given the perception that Chinese is a hard language to learn, this is somewhat surprising. So why are more New Zealanders interested in Mandarin these days? It could be to do with the fact that China's economy is fast-growing, and New Zealand is increasingly doing more business with China. China recently overtook Japan as the world's second largest economy. China also beat Germany as the world's largest exporter in 2010. At this rate, New Zealand will be more reliant on China not just as a source of imports, but also a large market for our exporters.

German and Dutch are the most closely related to English, but the Latin-based languages (e.g. French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese) have a lot of vocabulary in common with English, and some people find them easier. In any case, Euroasia courses are carefully structured so that you are only introduced to language you can comfortably cope with, and this works for the Asian languages (like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) as well.

Most languages are relatively easy to learn in the early stages. Check out some of our upcoming beginners courses.

From the point of view of children learning their first language, no! Children around the world acquire language at pretty much the same rate. But as adults learning a second language, we are likely to find languages which are more closely related to our own easier than others.

Many people will have a particular reason for learning a certain language. If you just have a desire to experience foreign language learning, it doesn't really matter which one you choose. Which country or culture interests you?

For example, at Euroasia, one of the languages we offer is Italian. Despite the fact that not many people speak Italian outside of Italy, we continue to get enrolments for Italian courses. We believe this is because New Zealanders are fascinated with Italy; Italian brands, Italian architecture and generally all things Italian!

Some people learn a language for business reasons. Various international organisations adopt "working languages" for day-to-day communications. Your career prospects would certainly be brighter if you are fluent in at least major one language other than English. Some examples of key working languages:

  • The United Nations has six official and working languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish). German also enjoys special status as a "documentary language".
  • The working languages of the Secretariat of the U.N. are English and French.
  • The World Trade Organization has three working languages: English, French, and Spanish.
  • The International Criminal Court has two working languages: English, and French.
  • The International Labour Organization has three working languages: English, French, and Spanish.
  • The International Olympic Committee has two working languages: English and French.
  • The European Commission has three working languages: English, French, and German.
  • The Free Trade Area of the Americas has two working languages: English and Spanish.
  • Mercosur has two working languages: Portuguese and Spanish.
  • NATO has two working languages: English and French.
  • FIFA has four working languages: English, French, German, and Spanish. Formerly, French was the sole official language of the organization. Currently, English is the official language for minutes, correspondence, and announcements.

If you go to live in a new country without taking any course at all, what will probably happen is this: you will start to pick up odd words, then phrases; after a long time, you will begin to understand what people say to you, and you will be able to respond using your repertoire of set phrases; but you will find it very hard to use the language creatively. As you do not have the right foundation, you will likely be frustrated. After the initial euphoria of being able to understand a few terms here and there, you will encounter some brick walls as you are unlikely to pick up the rules of the language (grammar) simply by listening to others speak.

It’s much better to learn the basics of the language before you immerse yourself in this way. Once you have mastered those, then it makes sense to go and live in the country, if you have the opportunity, and start putting your knowledge into practice.

Few of us were. But do you know the best way to learn English grammar? By studying the grammar of a foreign language! You kill two birds with one stone.

At Euroasia, we try to keep the grammar as straightforward as possible, and we avoid using difficult terms. Some basic concepts are helpful, like “verbs” and “adjectives”, but we make sure people understand the terms we do use. At the beginners level, you will survive without knowledge of grammar, so don't let this stop you from learning a language.

You probably can’t avoid grammar for ever, so as you advance through the levels, we will progressively teach you more. Without grammar, you just learn words and phrases, but you can’t really put them together to make new sentences. It’s like adding up just using a plus sign (+). With grammar, you enter the world of multiplication (x)!. You can say so much more.

Somehow or other, vocabulary has to be learnt, and words have to be strung into sentences using grammar, which also has to be learnt. While some courses are undoubtedly more effective than others, at the end of the day, certain bits of language have to be understood and memorised.

Unless someone has discovered a wonder drug, it's hard to see how the magic results promised by some providers can be achieved.

At Euroasia, we are constantly exploring cutting-edge methods and technologies. If appropriate, we incorporate what we learn into the courses we offer, which are custom-made for native English speakers. With over 3000 New Zealanders who have completed one of our courses, we draw on a significant experience base in designing effective courses to help you learn a foreign language.

Not entirely, because children's acquisition of language is closely linked to the development of their brains. Some language courses try to imitate the child's learning processes as closely as possible, but others recognise that as adults with knowledge of one language already we can't go back to that language-free state we were in as infants.

Adults will always relate their second language to their first. Most adult courses recognise that, while we have lost the abilities we had as infants, we have acquired an understanding as adults which can be exploited to make language learning easier.

Many books have been written on this subject... Different people have a preference for one approach over another.

While a few people seem to have the ability to learn a language from reading a book on the subject, there would probably be general agreement that it is hard to learn a language in this way. An audio course with cassettes or CD will work for some people. Others will find that Internet-based materials are effective.

Most people, though, will find that the above methods are secondary to the key one, which is interaction with an effective teacher. Language is a social experience, and we believe that it only really comes to live when it is used in a social context.