Language Courses with a difference

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The trigger for Ruth’s love of languages was a school exchange to Germany at the age of 14.  It was there that she realised that you have  a lot more fun if you actually speak the language, rather than obsessing over grammar and exams.  Graduating from Oxford in 1995 in Modern Languages, she worked across Europe, Australasia and the Middle East, before founding Speak Out in 2012. Every Speak Out course is driven by Ruth’s realisation at the age of 14, so she is passionate about helping everyone develop confidence to speak, speak and speak some more.

Ruth lives in a cottage in the countryside of the Scottish Borders with her partner and their 2 daughters, enjoying music, mountain biking and the outdoor life, and travelling to the French- and German-speaking world as often as she can.

Ruth Allan: French & German

Catherine Hughes: Italian

Catherine’s love for Italy started on a family holiday in Tuscany where, with the help of an ancient phrase book, she taught herself some thoroughly useless expressions like, “Where can I buy pipe cleaners?”  This was all the inspiration she needed to learn Italian properly and she decided to do a “crash Higher” in her final year of school. After studying law and French at the University of Glasgow and spending a year studying (and skiing!) in the Alps, she decided to return to Italian. She worked as an English teacher in various locations in Italy, her favourite being fair Verona, where she studied for a qualification in Italian from the Università per Stranieri di Siena.  She now lives in Edinburgh and in her free time she enjoys singing, reading Italian novels and travelling to France and Italy whenever possible.

Iris Tomas-Hernandez: Spanish

Iris comes from the Canary Islands, Spain and growing up in a touristic island, since she was a child she realised the importance of speaking a foreign language to communicate with people from different countries.  She studied a Bachelors in Hispanic Studies and after a few years teaching Spanish to mostly native students, she discovered her passion for teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. Then she studied a Masters in Applied Linguistics of Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language in the University of Antonio de Nebrija, Madrid and at the same time she began to teach Spanish to British, German and Swiss students. Once she finished her Masters she decided to moved to Scotland and settle down in Edinburgh, her second home.

“I consider it a pleasure to be able to teach a language and culture that opens minds and lets us communicate with people from more than 21 countries in the world. I can honestly say that I love my job.”

Laurene Huck: French

Laurene has been an English (ESL) teacher in France for four years. Before working for the French ministry of Education, she spent a year as a teaching assistant in Ireland, which made her realise how much she loved sharing her love of French language and culture. She is convinced that speaking is the best way to learn and enjoy a language, even if she loves grammar books!  

Laurène lives in Edinburgh, where she spends her time reading, cooking and dancing.

What do the learners say?

Marie Nivaigne: French

Marie is from Brittany and holds a Masters Degree in Pollitical Science from  Sciences Po in France.  She has been teaching French as a foreign language for 2 years here in Edinburgh.  She thinks it’s a fantastic job as she can share her love for the French language and culture, and meet new people!  During her free time, she likes reading novels and jogging with friends.

Valentina has a Bachelor's Degree in Language Sciences from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Brescia and a Master's Degree from the Università degli Studi di Verona. She followed that with 9 months at the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages at the University of Cambridge through the Erasmus Exchange Programme.

Since graduating, Valentina has used her langugage skills as much s possible, from small translation jobs to teaching languages to company employees.

"I take great pleasure in engendering understanding in others and I truly believe there is always something new to learn in the transmission of ideas benefiting both teacher and students".

Valentina Pogliaghi: Italian

Ana grew up in a bilingual family in a tiny village near the Bavarian Alps until she was 14.  However, Andalusia in Spain had always bee like a second home to her family, so they decided that was the moment to move to Granada, Spain, where Ana lived for 14 years, even picking up an Andalusian accent!  Ana’s degree was in English Studies where she had the opportunity to teach German.  It was here that she discovered her passion for teaching languages.  She particulary enjoys using her creativity to bring new ideas to life.

In her spare time, Ana loves mountains, reading, travelling and spending time with her family.

Ana Bellido: German & Spanish

Francesca’s love for the Italian language, history and culture has been always very strong, and since she was 8 years old she dreamed of being a teacher. In 2014 she graduated with a Masters in Italian and Latin Literature and Philology (Italianistica). Francesca believes that a language is part of the “soul” of a country, and this is why she loves teaching her language and her culture to people of other nationalities to stimulate the desire of knowing each other and to create links and connections. Grammar is important to Francesca, but much more important for her is to be able to communicate.

Francesca Turco: Italian