Traditionally, the greatest interest has been in the ‘big four’ European languages (French, German, Spanish and Italian). Euroasia has offered course in six levels in all these languages, together with higher level classes when there has been sufficient demand. In recent years, there has possibly some movement away from European towards Asian languages. In contrast, though, there has been growing interest in the three other European languages which we offer, namely, Portuguese, Russian and Dutch.
There's clearly growing interest in Asian languages, especially Mandarin.
When we started offering Mandarin about 6 years ago, it was very much a minority interest, and students seldom continued beyond level one. Now it’s the most popular language (surpassing Spanish), and we have students returning for a whole series of courses. We offer six levels, plus we have an advanced class for those who wish to continue beyond that point. Some of our students have been coming along for years, and are very happy to do so.
Interest in Japanese is fairly stable overall. We have a dedicated group of people who keep returning to study in our highest level class. We also regularly have new beginners starting.
Korean is fairly popular. Perhaps this is because of Korean drama, K-Pop etc.
This year, Euroasia is also offering Cantonese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Arabic, in response to requests from clients.
Our clients are predominantly young to middle-aged European professionals, although there's a small but growing number of Asian clients. We also find that people originally from Asian countries are interested in learning another Asian language. Sometimes the reasons are surprising: for example, Chinese and Japanese people may express an interest in Korean soap operas!
Kiwis learn foreign languages for the following reasons:
– Personal travel
– Partner speaks that particular language
– Descended from speakers of that particular language
– General interest
Reasons vary from language to language: with Mandarin, often business; with Italian, usually personal travel; with Dutch, generally family connections.
We are often asked what can people realistically achieve by attending our courses.
To achieve near-native speaker competence takes years of study, together with a substantial amount of time in the country in question. Realistically, there are not that many people who achieve this level of competence. But there are many other levels of competence, and achieving these can be immensely rewarding as well as of practical benefit. Even a short, introductory course gives insights into the way the language works and the way people think, as well as providing a useful range of vocabulary for everyday situations. The more you study, the wider the range of experience you’re able to discuss in the foreign language. Language learning is an ongoing process, much like keeping fit. Just because you've managed to develop a summer beach body doesn't mean you can stop working at it.