Learning A New Language…Aged 24

Education doesn’t stop the minute you leave the classroom, and Chapter W writer Maeve Higham is extending her knowledge + learning Spanish in the evenings. Over to you, Senorita…


After spending a month in South America, and becoming pretty well versed at ordering ‘uno grande cerveza y uno vas por favour’, that’s a large beer and a glass to you English speaking folk, I have signed up for Spanish classes. Yup, me, the girl who hated French at school, who flat out joked my way through the entire two hours a week, so much so that I was removed from my class and put into a separate class with other like-minded language hating reprobates.

The extent of my post GCSE French knowledge remains ‘Voulez vous couche avec moi c’est soir?’, which I can thank Labelle and Lady Marmalade for, but only ever really comes in handy on a week’s ski trip to the French alps or during those three days spent in Paris as part of my right of passage interrail around Europe. So yeah, I have actually made the conscious adult decision to not only sign up for Spanish classes but to also pay for the privilege *Cue bank account being physically sick at all those free hours of education I wasted*.

Learning something new as an adult can be scary, petrifying even, because you’re doing ok right? You got that 2.1 from a decent university in a degree that you chose and loved (most of the time). You’re working, settled in your first graduate job earning enough to have ASOS favorited and a weekend to Barcelona with your girlfriends planned (lets ignore that looming house deposit).

So the prospect of sitting in a classroom after work with a bunch of strangers and trying to make your brain not only function after a day of spreadsheets but to actually learn something new, fills you with that first day of school fear – ‘what if I can’t do it?’.  Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone, and everyone automatically goes back to their childhood fear as they sheepishly say hi on that first day. 

Having my housemate with me during that nerve wracking first day was a definite push for me to pursue extra education. Persuading a pal to get on board with your chosen course is a win win. It not only motivates you to go, but it gives you someone to practice with and guarantees you see your friend for two hours a week, which is pretty rare these days with our endless hectic schedules.

Plus, sharing a bottle of well-deserved wine after your weekly brain exercise is basically a necessity…

You can study just about anything at night school, so whether you want to have a dabble at pottery, become a yoga teaching goddess or learn how to bake a Mary Berry worthy apple crumble, there is definitely something perfect for you! And the best part? It’s subsidised by the government!

I have signed up for a 27 week course which works out at £11 a week for two hours of tuition, which in my eyes is a bargain. Not keen on the 27 weeks of commitment? You can do shorter four week taster courses to determine if it is actually your cup of tea. Most local councils even offer ‘try before you buy’ weeks throughout the year, which allows potential students (read: you) the chance to go along and try an existing class for free. 

Every 20 something I know is trying to better themselves, even if it does feel like a constant uphill struggle and secretly we want to be in our unwashed dressing gown binging on Netflix, reminiscing about student life. Come on, own up, how many self-help-esque feminist books by a flavour of the month blogger are on your bed side table right now? Not to mention those finding yourself inspirational books of poetry (One look at my amazon suggestions list and you’d know I was so guilty of owning both the above).

But rather than just reading about changing for the better, put the words in to practice. Sign up for an evening class near you – learn a new skill, find a hobby you love and become the woman you aspired to be post university.  And then still read that blogger’s book before bed, but let it remind you how much ass you’re kicking with the life skills you’re acquiring (whilst holding down a job, paying off your overdraft, successfully keeping in touch with all of your university friends and planning that move to Spain – because you’re fluent now, right?)

What are you waiting for? 

Maeve Higham 



  1. January 30, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    Girl I LOVE this post, I’ve been wanting to learn Spanish for a least a year, having recently come back from a trip to Madrid I’m even more desperate to learn! *Looks into Spanish courses whilst writing this haha – thank you for giving me the kick I need love!

    Hayley xo

    • chapterw16@gmail.com
      February 2, 2017 / 10:48 pm

      That’s so great to hear Hayley – let us know how you get on! 🙂

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