Did you know the Orlando Public Library is now offering English from Zero? Located in the heart of downtown, the location will offer the course on Sundays starting June 9. English from Zero is a basic English course for speakers of other languages, no matter the language.
To give you a little more insight on how the course can help, we asked Orange County Library System employee Alibeth Suarez Galindo some questions about her own experience taking English from Zero classes. Originally from Venezuela, Ali is a Questline Reference Assistant and has been with the library for about four years.
How did you find out the library could help with English skills?
A friend told me about classes when I was thinking about attending a community college to take English classes, but it was so expensive. It was hard because there aren’t a lot of affordable resources in the community, but the library offers free classes all the time from online language resources to classes with a teacher.
What was the process of learning the language like?
The teachers were very motivational! We started with basic vocabulary that could be used in a real-world setting – names of objects, house, car, things like that. The first thing I had to do was memorize the vocabulary and then surround myself with English resources, including listening to the radio and watching TV in English. One of the best pieces of advice I was given was to take a basic computer class in English – even if I did not understand all that was being said I could just listen. I knew how the computer worked but because the words were new, I could easily relate that word in English to what I knew the term was in Spanish. I also checked out kids’ books and I was able to learn the sentence structures more easily. After finishing a book, I felt accomplished!
“The instructors really care and they want to help.”
What was the most challenging part of learning English?
That would be understanding the different accents and speeds. Also, getting over my own insecurities when people couldn’t understand what I was saying. I felt embarrassed and frustrated when neither one of us could understand each other. The easiest way to get over those feelings was to just keep trying. Eventually, I knew it was something I had to face and do. Now I work at OCLS and I practice by surrounding myself with the different resources the library has including online like Lynda or Mango. I am still learning, and every day I practice.
What type of advice would you give to other English-language learners?
Practice with everything: radio, TV and asking simple questions at the grocery store. If you struggle with a word, ask the library English instructor for help. You can also find a synonym of the word that you can use instead. The instructors really care, and they want to help. Ask questions and don’t give up. Be patient.