Learning English isn't easy. But we keep trying because, when you make yourself understood, when you find the words, the moment is magic, and the next step is yours to take.
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I started my journey when I moved to London after finishing university. I realized then that learning a language was much more than grammar or vocabulary. I could not establish the relationships I wanted, nor find the job I was seeking, but then I started to find the right words, initially only occasionally, but eventually ever more regularly. Sharing thoughts brought great relationships. Expressing ideas and ambitions brought professional opportunities. That journey has never left me. I keep on seeking the words, finding new ones and creating personal and professional opportunities I would have never imagined.
– Santiago Ruiz de Velasco,
Managing Director, English Language Teaching, Oxford University Press
I was 27 when I travelled alone to the UK to teach my mother tongue, Spanish. I was excited but so scared and far away from the teachers who helped me to express myself in English.
“I wasn’t sure if I could find the words to communicate with strangers. Coming from a rural community in Mexico, I just wanted to survive as a person and as a teacher. But what I learned through dictionaries and books helped me find the words to make my first friend there. I was able to connect with students who saw me trying to find the words to share my own language and culture. Learning a second language changed my life forever.
– Margarito Jacome
I remember the moment I got my own English language test results. It gave me the confidence to move to the UK to continue my learning journey, and 20 years later, I’m still here!
“My life changed when I found the words. When I moved to the UK, I found listening hard, so I’d practise by watching TV with subtitles. One day I must have forgotten to add them, and I realised that I could still understand what was going on. I didn’t need them! For me that was such a prosaic but important moment.
– Blanca Gonzalez
I was delighted when my parents gave me the opportunity to study English in the UK and live with a local family. At last I could speak because I wanted to communicate something. Finding the words to tell my landlady what I would like to eat and how my day was going were so much fun to me. I returned home a different person, no longer afraid of making mistakes but focusing on making myself understood.
– Elżbieta Święcicka
I used to read dozens of English books every year when I was a student. Graded readers weren’t available to me then and I often didn’t understand what I was reading. But I kept reading, trying desperately to understand the context. Several books later, and things started to click. I saw myself progress and that helped me carry on. Never give up when trying to find your words.
– Vaclav Bocek