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Months ago, when we started this group of conversational English classes in Duleek, we also started a journey. A journey with fellow travellers from different countries – Ireland, Brazil, Ukraine.

But as the months went by, we realised that the group was not the sum of nationalities or countries we came from. We were something more: we are the relationships that we have established among ourselves and that we have made grown during this journey. These relationships are not only about teaching and learning English but about care and friendship. We have learned together, and we have grown together. In the beginning, we were all a bit nervous; for many, this was a completely new experience.

Still, every week tutors focused on giving their best, often bringing their own materials and creating their own activities. And students, on the other hand, gave their best and were open and committed to learning. Week by week, we welcomed a new student or tutor with open arms. Sometimes we felt worried or tired and found a friendly ear and encouraging conversation.

Are we different from the people who started these classes in January? Yes, we are different because we have seen ourselves through another person’s eyes. We have learned to see our culture through the questions that the person in front of us asked during our conversations. For example, what is the weather like in your country? Why does it rain so much in Ireland? What is the meaning of this or that? What is the capital of Brazil? Volunteers have learned about the country that other person left behind, and students have learned a different perspective about Ireland, more approachable and friendly. Students needed tutors to teach them English, tutors needed students to teach, and we need one another to fulfil ourselves as human beings.

Photo: Sebastian Silva:







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