When I moved to Slovakia, my Slovak language skills were next to zero. I had been held back by fear because I heard one popular phrase about this language being impossibly difficult so many times that my motivation faltered. I had not seen much sense in learning the language because I used to get by easily by speaking English.
In January 2020, I made a commitment to give Slovak language a chance because I was recommended one school by a friend who was incredibly happy with her progress. I signed up for a course with the Slovak Friends Language School.
Language like any other
“Slovak is a language like any other and anyone can learn it. Of course, there are difficult bits -- tell me which language does not have such difficulties? -- but there are also many simple parts.” This was the introduction of one of the founders of the Slovak Friends Language School, Katarina Blažeková, during the first class of the course. I had never thought about it, but if you can learn English or other languages, learning Slovak is just a different type of language. “You need to discover its keys and get as much exposure as possible. If you haven't learned any language yet, at least you have nothing to compare it with :-),” Katarína concluded.
After she spoke, a hint of hope flashed within me – was that maybe the very first key to the language? Now one year has passed and I feel the benefits of learning. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but my fear of Slovak has disappeared, and my motivation has rocketed. Katarína and her friend and co-founder, Zuzana Peláková, have instilled such confidence in me that I am not afraid to tackle anything in Slovak.
Knocking down barriers
One could ask whether it really is necessary to learn Slovak. I believe it is. However, it took me some time to realise that. Luckily, a course with Slovak Friends Language School changed everything.
Now, I understand that speaking Slovak knocks down a lot of barriers, including cultural ones. Accepting the difference between Slovak and other languages, leaving the comfort zone of the English language, and giving a chance to new learning experiences is the key. My previous non-existing command of Slovak kept me back from meeting new friends and kept me from living my life to the fullest here in Slovakia. I can accomplish what I want without fearing the judgment of other peoples. Thanks to Slovak, I started to believe more in myself. I found a lot of new friends, I got promoted, and as a mother I can better understand my children who are growing up here in Slovakia.
Why choose Slovak Friends Language School?
This school teaches exclusively Slovak; therefore, they offer numerous language courses, the highest number in Slovakia. There are new courses starting every month. The school covers all levels, adults and kids. I could choose either morning, afternoon, or weekend courses. The school limits the number of students per class to provide as much opportunity to speak as possible for every student. There were 4 students in my group; however, the maximum is 5 students online and 6 students in the classroom.
Over the years, I learnt some phrases and I was not a beginner. I could not decide my level, so I sent the school an e-mail. Katarína replied almost immediately. I was surprised because it was in the evening. I haven't experienced such fast customer service in a while. She arranged for me to have a short informal chat with Zuzana the following day to assess my level. Our call was very pleasant, and we talked for about half an hour. She was nice, open, and helpful. Immediately after that Katarína sent me an offer of courses based on my Slovak level. In the end I joined one ongoing course and it was a perfect match!
Importance of being prepared
Teachers and their ability to teach play an important role. The teacher I have is always prepared and she is very empathetic. When we are covering a challenging topic, she approaches it carefully and the explanation of new grammar is complimented with plenty of practice and exercises.
In my class, we learn everyday Slovak and communication; it is not just grammar. The main textbook gives structure to the course, but don't expect to study page by page as teachers adjust to students' particular requirements and bring their own materials or apply a variety of activities.
I especially appreciate the school's and teacher's communication outside of class. Students can directly contact the school or their teacher at any time of the week with their questions. They are here ready to help, even on weekends or holidays. I also knew my opinion mattered because right after the second class Katarína wrote me an e-mail asking for my feedback and whether I was happy with my classes.
Learning Slovak is more than just having classes
When covid restrictions relaxed last summer, our group went out for a beer together with more students. I was looking forward to such events, but in autumn, we knew meeting up would not be possible. I keep my fingers crossed to have such an opportunity as soon as possible. My friend was luckier and attended a cooking class before March 2020. They learnt cooking-related vocabulary while cooking pirohy. What great fun!
Grow personally. Learn Slovak. Join students in Slovak Friends Language School
Visit www.slovakfriends.com or contact the school via email@example.com
This article has been brought to you by Slovak Friends Language School.
12. Apr 2021 at 10:46