Learning a Second Language in Peru

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Living in Peru, that is a great concept for some of us who either have decided to venture out into a new country or have decided to come back to the place where you were born, which is my case, after living abroad for half of my adult life.

I’m an English teacher in this capital also known as The City of Kings, and I have noticed that some people are eager to learn languages and not just English like it was back in my days. There are a lot more opportunities, as far as learning different languages is concerned, such as Portuguese, Italian, German, French, Japanese and even Mandarin Chinese which I consider the most difficult. So of course, there is a proliferation of Institutes, Academies, and even Universities which offer all types of different courses, methodologies, and certifications. That’s not even counting the online language learning programs.

Everyone competing against each other and reassuring the learners that by signing up, they will be speaking the language in no time at all.

I have been teaching for about four years and I hold a few certifications from Cambridge, let alone studying in the States a medical technologist career and working in a hospital for about 18 years. I have lived in three different States, so I know American culture. Also living in Peru, I have worked and seen some of these institutions and I have a few things to say about them without of course having to mention any names.

I was shocked the time I took one of my Cambridge exams and during the speaking test, the examiners left a lot to be desired as far as fluency.

I was expecting native speakers to say the least…

Why these prestigious institutions assign examiners with such poor level of fluency? I have no clue. I have also noticed that some institutions are discriminatory against employing native English teachers. I’m still not quite sure what the reason may be. What I’m sure of is that there is an enormous difference between teachers who have lived abroad and have experienced life outside Lima and the other teachers who have not ever experienced a different culture, not even as tourists. Anyhow, in my opinion, there is no magic way to learn a language if you don’t systematically expose yourself to it at all times. No institute or academy has the magic formula.

My advice to learners is to embrace the language, fall in love with it, maximize your time being exposed to it and when outside the classroom, use the language, speak without fear.

It can be difficult at times to speak without fear, trust me I know…

I still find it amusing how you get stared at here when you speak English in public. People look at you as if you were from another planet. LOL. And one last thing, about the places where I have worked. I wonder why the teachers don’t give the example and turn the workplace into an ENGLISH ZONE only. It’s incredible that as soon as they get a chance they will stick the Spanish into any casual conversation. HELLO….????????

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Fernando Calle

Fernando Calle is a Peruvian-born, American citizen who has lived in the USA for over 25 years. He is a Cardiovascular Technologist and Sleep Disorder Specialist, having worked for Baptist Health Systems (Florida, USA) where he held the position as Chief Technologist of the Respiratory Disorders Department. After having worked for his own companies (Sleep Services of South Florida and Total Health Diagnostics, also in South Florida), he currently resides in Lima, Peru on a new quest as an English Teacher. Holds the ELT, FCE and ECPE (Cambridge-Michigan) international certificates. Also offers advanced English level courses for business, English Law, Technical English. Specialized in Medical English.