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“Language training has given my self-belief a boost.”

24 january 2022

Individuals who want to work on specific language skills will benefit greatly from individual training. Mieke Groenewegen, until recently Managing Director at APG, experienced this. At STE Languages she started working with a teacher who explicitly anticipated her development needs which soon paid off.

What was your motivation for taking a language course?
“In my work at APG I sometimes had, and still have, meetings in English. I also anticipate that I will have that in future work situations as well. Because this will not be a regularity, it means that you are not likely to learn more. I wanted and still want to expand my vocabulary, practice grammar, but above all gain the confidence to speak freely in English as well.”

How did you contact STE Languages?
“STE is APG’s regular partner for language training, so contact was established quickly. A colleague had previously taken a training course at STE. He was very enthusiastic and had clearly made progress. Of course, that naturally made me curious.”

Why did you choose individual training?
“Because I had a particular development need. I already had a foundation in English and wanted to improve on some specific topics. The individual route was more appropriate.”

You completed training online. How was that?
"Due to the current corona measures, training was online, but that actually worked out well. I don't live near Eindhoven, and I was already used to doing everything online because of my work.”

How was the guidance from STE?
“During the intake, my background and learning needs were discussed. I had indicated that I would like a teacher who was familiar with my field. They took this into account and that had advantages during the training.”

Can you explain that?
“We mainly talked about things that interest me personally and professionally. The teacher anticipated this well and that made it fun. We did few traditional exercises, mostly talked about topics such as leadership, remote working, and the climate. The focus was on increasing vocabulary and improving language skills.”

To what extent has the training add value to your work?
“I have enriched my vocabulary and now find the right words much more easily. Even more important is that I now have the confidence that I can handle myself well in an English meeting. I can make a point and take the time for it. Many people who talk to natives tend to be reserved. This language training has given my self-belief a boost.”

When did you first notice that the language training had an effect?
“At first, I thought, oh my, I need to look things up but from around the third lesson I found that I could just voice my opinion. Then you suddenly notice: ‘hey, it's getting easier!’ This was also confirmed by the teacher, because he regularly checked how things were going and then gave feedback.”

To what extent are you continuing to improve your English language skills?
“I have bought some English-language books and now, when I watch a movie, I turn off the subtitles. English therefore remains the focus of my attention.”

Do you have any tips for new students?
“It is particularly useful for individual training to indicate during the intake that you need an appropriate teacher, someone who shares a similar background to the environment in which you work and live. It's about more than just words and grammar; interaction with the teacher is equally important.”

Finally, how do you look back on the language training?
“I am very excited. The interaction with the teacher was very enjoyable. We also kept in touch between classes. Sometimes with a relevant article, another time with useful information. That motivates you enormously. If you receive an email from your teacher, you will of course want to respond in proper English. That way you stay fully engaged.”