Do You Speak English?

Do You Speak English?

Imagine manning a booth in a trade show and talking about your company’s products and services for 12 hours a day, 6 days in a row. It would be exhausting. That is how we felt after a week volunteering at the “Englischhausen” program.

This program is for people who have a real desire to improve their English; to immerse themselves in the language. One way to do this is to travel to a country where only English is spoken. Another way is to become part of a program that offers immersion without the international travel.

In our case the students were German (and one Spaniard). Of course to control the environment we needed to be in an enclave of sorts, so we all jumped on a bus in Frankfurt and headed to a secluded country hotel (The Waldhaus) in the town of Laubach, Germany. For each student there was one native English speaker (or “Anglo” as we were called).

The 16 students included executive assistants, doctors, nurses, white collar workers two folks from the liquor and beer industry and one member of the European Parliament. The “Anglos” included people who live in the USA, Canada, Spain, England. Poland and New Zealand. Needless to say, we made some great contacts!

We were quickly provided with there rules:

      1. English only (no other foreign Language at all)
        1. That meant menus, interaction between students and the hotel staff, music etc
      2. Be on time for events.
      3. Have Fun!

The week started off with a round of introductions, in the form of a fun game. From there we proceeded to spend the next five days one on one, in groups, on teams,on phone calls with students and at meals speaking English. We sang, we danced, we played games, we hiked, we created an acted in small theater productions and we gave/attended presentations.

Through it all, the master of ceremonies (an old friend of ours from Ireland) kept the group on track, on time and in good spirits.

We emerged from the program a bit tired, but extremely humbled by the desire of the students to get better at English. Imagine subjecting yourselves to five days of constant correction!

Would we do it again? You bet, we have already signed up to volunteer for a version of the program in Spain!

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