What makes the International Language Institute a special place? One might say it is the truly devoted instructors that work tirelessly to create warm and innovative learning experiences for the students that pass through ILI- whether it be physically or virtually. You could also consider the focus on community and relationships, the immersive learning styles, or the truly adaptable staff and board. At ILI, we feel that the students are one of the biggest factors of what makes ILI the institution it is. Throughout this ever-changing year, we have worked hard to adjust to the new parameters that life has thrown at us. Recent student, Richard Bradford, took the time to talk about his experience studying German as part of our Online World Language Program.
“My name is Richard Bradford, and I studied in the ILI conversational German class, in the evenings with Linda as my teacher.
The program that I followed was a four-week conversational German program.
Every week we had a different theme that we talked about. My German was a bit rusty – I hadn’t used it for a lot of years. So it was really lovely, just to be able to have a theme and think about some vocabulary, ahead of time that Linda gave us. And then on the night, just ask and answer questions to each other just to get things going. And what would happen is we’d start with a formal question we were given but we’d very quickly wander into all sorts of interesting territory and ask all sorts of questions.
So I’m based in the UK, and ILI is obviously in New England, in Massachusetts in the US. So for me there was quite a lot of interest around the elections and political views and we discussed that one week, but then also reading and books and things like that. So just really kind of interesting, real-life topics so there’s nothing, artificial about this. It was a very kind of natural.
And I think that’s what I really like about the people at ILI as well, is that, you know, that there’s a world of opportunity to study online and take language classes, you’ve got language teachers in every country, and because we are all working virtually these days, you know, there is so much choice so how do you choose? For me it’s like, you know, I know these guys are genuine. I like what ILI stands for as well that it’s all about worldwide equality, that everybody matters. That there’s a real sensitivity to people as human beings and I love that. And it’s just nice to know that behind the scenes, you’re not paying your money just for it to go to somebody’s shares and shareholder pockets. It’s a charitable organization. They’re doing this for the greater good. And, and the quality is really there. So it’s like why would you not choose a place where everybody’s friendly, and where you feel that people know you so well, because they take that extra period of time to just listen actively and support you? It’s just really nice.
And the thing with language of course is it’s so much based around your confidence. Some days you can open your mouth and nothing will come out, you don’t make a lot of sense and you make loads of mistakes, and other days with language, you can just talk really fluently. And, you know, alcohol helps, but if it’s not for alcohol… Well, what does alcohol do? It gives you confidence, right? And so, get a good teacher, that is there just to support you and that you feel knows you well, and responds to you, and all that anxiety just disappears.
I think we were speaking quite fluently at times. And that was brilliant. I mean, what a great opportunity. Short of…, you know, well even if you go to the country, if you go to Germany, you can’t guarantee that you’re going to be getting that level of contact with people. And again, you’ve got that whole thing about “Will the person react to me in the way that I want them to?” So, I think it’s really nice that you’ve got people that care about you as a human. And because of that I find linguistically you relax into it, a lot a lot faster. There’s no wasted time. You’re just in there, speaking… in my case German from the outset, so no, it’s brilliant.
The other thing about ILI is that they really do still stand for language being the vector for worldwide understanding and obviously right now in this day and age, there’s a lot of divisiveness, there’s a lot of split opinions and not everybody thinks in the same way. Whether it’s like in our country like Brexit, or in the US, there’s a Democrat Republican thing going on. And it’s big, you know, and I think language does kind of break down barriers between countries, as in if you speak a bit of somebody else’s language, then, then you’re going to have a deeper understanding and more tolerance, and I think that’s really important and this is definitely what I see ILI standing up for in terms of when you look at their blogs, or social media, it’s definitely not just about the language.
Anybody can offer that, but language with a degree of humanity is massive I think, these days. And, yeah, because I’m in the UK the time difference was a little bit excessive so my classes were taking place between midnight and one o’clock in the morning. But, hey you know it’s worth it. There were some lovely people in the group, the group was small and some really interesting people as well.
So, my conversational German class was well worth it and I’ll definitely do it again.”