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Language learning after 40 Luiza Amaral

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Language learning after 40

The trend of traveling abroad to learn English has attracted many young adults to Canada; this influx of international students has been growing exponentially since 2011, when the United States changed their regulations, making it much harder for students to apply for a visa. While a lot of people might not have had the opportunity to travel abroad to study when young, many are fulfilling this dream later in life.

This is the case for Nilva Lopes, 40, a Brazilian PhD in Chemistry. She always wanted to travel abroad to study but never had the opportunity. In 2012, however, she felt it was time to fulfill her dream.
“Because my English skills are lacking, I could not find a position in the workplace; I decided to leave Brazil to study since I needed to learn the language in a very short time,” said Lopes, who currently studies English at the International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC).

She chose Canada thanks to the lower cost as compared to other countries, such as England. But why Vancouver?

“I was deciding between Toronto and Vancouver, but I chose the second option because it is much more beautiful and the climate is milder compared to Toronto,” explained Lopes.
Sisrgio Maria, 48, a Brazilian entrepreneur who always dreamed of learning English, also came to Canada this year with the intention of learning the language.

“I come from a very humble background and the idea of studying abroad was never an option. I started working when I was a teenager to help support my family and by the time I was 30, my financial situation still did not allow me to travel. The very notion of going anywhere overseas was completely out of sight for me,” he explained.

But as time went by, and after many hours of hard work, things changed for Maria and he fulfilled his dream, and came to Vancouver to study at Canadian College.

“I believe that learning English is the key to opening many doors.  I plan on traveling to other countries and believe that by learning English I will be able travel more confidently, and will be able to take advantage of more business opportunities. A great example was my experience in Canada,” he said proudly.

Lopes and Maria are living examples that age should not get in the way of fulfilling your dreams.
“If we only get the opportunity to study abroad after we are 40 years old, we have to embrace it and be thankful. We are what we believe in, so if we believe that age is just a number, and that graying hair just make us more distinguished and that wrinkles are reminders of our victories, then we are certainly able to learn a new language, new sport, or new activity at any time in our lives. What makes us old is not our age, but rather the way we see the world,” explained Maria.

Lopes had a similar outlook: “I believe that we can do anything in our 40s that those 20-somethings can do; the difference is that when you are older you exercise more responsibly when taking advantage of these great opportunities.”

Emily Wadley, an English teacher at Pacific Language Institute (PLI), added that “learning a new language is healthy for the mind, especially for people over 40, because it helps to keep the brain active. So, I would definitely recommend learning a language no matter how old you are.”

Photo by: Lucas Socio

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)

About Luiza Amaral

Amaral holds a Journalism degree from PUC-Rio. She has worked as public relations at the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro and video editor at Conspiracao Filmes and TV Bandeirantes. Formada em jornalismo pela PUC-Rio ja atuou como assessora de imprensa da Assembleia Legislativa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro e como editora de video na Conspiracao Filmes e TV Bandeirantes.

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