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If you’ve ever fan­cied broad­en­ing your hori­zons and learn­ing a new lan­guage, a free taster day with Nor­folk Com­mu­nity Learn­ing Ser­vices may be your first step into a brave new world.

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Are you in­ter­ested in learn­ing a new lan­guage? Well, re­search sug­gests you are al­ready one step closer to suc­ceed­ing, as hav­ing an in­ter­est and pos­i­tive at­ti­tude is a key fac­tor in how well a learner pro­gresses.

At Nor­folk Com­mu­nity Learn­ing Ser­vices (NCLS for­merly Adult Ed­u­ca­tion) we know some peo­ple re­ally want to learn, but for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons such as bad pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ences and fear of the un­known, are find­ing it dif­fi­cult to take that first step.

To help over­come ini­tial fears, we are run­ning a free lan­guage taster day, when peo­ple in­ter­ested in lan­guage learn­ing can come along, meet the tu­tors, learn a few ba­sic phrases and find out how much fun learn­ing a lan­guage can be. The ses­sions, in Nor­wich, are one hour long, with a choice of lan­guages avail­able, from French, Ger­man, Ital­ian, Ja­panese, Pol­ish and Span­ish. Run­ning through­out the morn­ing we will also have a ‘drop-in’ ses­sion where you can speak to our highly ex­pe­ri­enced lan­guages spe­cial­ist about any queries you may have about learn­ing a lan­guage. If you have pre­vi­ously learnt a lan­guage, for ex­am­ple, and are un­sure about your level, Marie will be able to ad­vise you and an­swer those nig­gling queries that may have pre­vi­ously pre­vented you from join­ing a class.

Our pre­vi­ous lan­guage taster days have been very pop­u­lar and proved it is a great way to find out whether learn­ing a lan­guage is for you.

If you de­cide to take that ex­cit­ing next step, we have a num­ber of short, afford­able cour­ses avail­able, which are ideal for mak­ing your first steps into lan­guage learn­ing. They are just 12 weeks in length and by the end of the course you will be able to ex­change ba­sic in­for­ma­tion, or­der food and drink, shop for items and, very im­por­tantly, ask for di­rec­tions. In ad­di­tion, you will have gained the knowl­edge and skills needed to un­der­take a ba­sic as­sess­ment to gain an en­try level qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

We of­ten find that once hav­ing started a lan­guage course, many learn­ers re­ally en­joy a sense of achieve­ment and de­cide to con­tinue to take ad­van­tage of the world of op­por­tu­ni­ties lan­guage learn­ing can of­fer.

If you are still un­sure then take a look at some of the main rea­sons for learn­ing a lan­guage.

Boost your brain power Stud­ies have shown that learn­ing a lan­guage at any time in your life will help keep the brain sharper and may even be able to pre­vent the on­set of de­men­tia. In 2015 aca­demics from Univer­sity of Ed­in­burgh found that a group of bilin­gual peo­ple had a slower men­tal de­cline than those who only spoke one lan­guage. Learn­ing a lan­guage can also help you un­der­stand your own lan­guage bet­ter.

Make new friends One of the big­gest, and of­ten un­ex­pected ad­van­tages of join­ing a class with NCLS (lan­guage or other) is that peo­ple of­ten make re­ally strong friend­ships. We have seen so many groups of life­long friend­ships and even re­la­tion­ships forged through at­tend­ing reg­u­lar classes.

We have peo­ple who meet up on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and those who may have moved away from the area, but still ar­range an an­nual ‘catch-up’ as well as groups look­ing to go into busi­ness to­gether. So, if you are look­ing to im­prove your so­cial cir­cle then an NCLS class could be just the thing!

Now you know what learn­ing a lan­guage can do – what is stop­ping you? Visit www.nor­folk.gov.uk/adult­e­d­u­ca­tion or call 0344 800 8020 to find out more. Tasters on Satur­day, May 16, at Wen­sum Lodge, Nor­wich. French, Ital­ian and Span­ish are from 9.30am to 10.30am; Ger­man, Ja­panese and Pol­ish are from 11am to 12 noon. The ‘drop in’ ses­sion runs from 9.30am to 12.30pm so peo­ple can pop along be­fore or af­ter their ses­sions if needed.

FIRST STEPS: Classes are of­fered in French, Ger­man, Ital­ian, Ja­panese, Pol­ish and Span­ish.

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