Leticia Farnezes Figueiredo, owner and teacher of Let’s Speak English, an ELT school in Brazil, speaks to us in this week’s Industry Voices about why her study abroad experience in Texas led to her taking many different courses overseas, and gives advice on overcoming the difficulties of learning a language.
I’m from Brazil and I have a school called Let’s Speak English – it’s in Minas Gerais, a state next to Rio and Sao Paulo.
Why learning languages is so important
The world is an international place so I think that anywhere you go, you can practise languages and in my example, speak English. For example, last year I went to Argentina, and I can’t speak Spanish very well so English was my backup when I needed to communicate, when I needed to ask something that I couldn’t ask in Spanish.
Overcoming the difficulties of learning a language
I think you just have to start! However you begin – taking a class, watching movies, going abroad – if you keep thinking you can’t do it, you’re not going to. You have to relax and take your time - it won’t just take a day or a week, it takes time, but don’t give up!
My study abroad experience
I was an exchange student for one year in Texas. I did the last year of high school there, and when I came back I started teaching some English and I realised I wanted to be a teacher. So by now I’ve taken many courses abroad – one of them was at IH Newcastle. I took a methodology course there for two weeks and it was amazing, amazing!
If you are considering studying abroad…
You have to go! I have a student going next month to Oxford to study, and I always tell my students and friends and people that I know, that studying English for a long time where you live is one thing, but going abroad is completely different. You live situations that you never live where you are in your home country, because, well, I’m from Brazil and we speak Portuguese. When students are in class there they speak English, but outside of class it’s Portuguese, Portuguese, all the time. If you are in a foreign country, you don’t have the option of speaking your mother tongue. Having contact with another language 24 hours a day makes a huge difference. Making friends and learning about different cultures is something I’m really passionate about!
Leticia chatted with IHWO at the IATEFL conference in Brighton, UK in April 2018.