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IH Galway: Are your students nervous about taking that final step?

Published Lynne on Thursday, April 21, 2022 12:00 AM

IH Galway: Are your students nervous about taking that final step?

Here’s how to help them face their biggest fears about studying abroad.

With so many General English courses now available on the market, it can be difficult for students to decide which school is right for them. One way to get students interested in a particular school or course is to let them know that you understand their fears and anxieties. We want to communicate to them that they are more than just a client - they are real human beings with big (and often stress-inducing) decisions ahead of them. Successfully addressing their biggest worries will help you to establish a relationship with prospective students. It will also help you to build a foundation of trust with that individual.

This is why our courses at IH Galway have been so successful and why we have students from all over the world studying with us. One of the biggest selling points of our school is that we have experienced and welcoming staff who generate a really caring family environment. We make sure our students understand that their fears and anxieties matter, and that we’re here to help. They’re not alone with us!

If you can successfully communicate these benefits to your clients, the process of getting them invested and interested in IH Galway language courses will become a lot more straightforward. We know that learning a new language can be complicated, but we want students to know that IH Galway can take away many of the stresses and worries that come with this exciting challenge. We provide them with all the materials and care they need to succeed. We also provide them with a ready-made social life in the form of social events and class trips which will help them adjust to their new life in Galway. Everything becomes easier with us. Your clients have a right to be concerned, but the agent’s job is to make them feel more sure of their decision. We’re here to help you do this!

Here are your students’ biggest fears and exactly how you can address them:

#1 Will I be able to communicate with people?

One of the biggest fears that students have about studying abroad is the language barrier. We know how strange it can be to arrive in a place where everyone is speaking a completely different language. But they don’t have to worry - feeling this way, in the beginning, is a natural part of their journey. All this newness can also be an incredibly exciting thing, especially when you realise that the only way is up from here! “What does this menu say?” “How can I ask for the directions I need?” “How should I speak to my new boss?” These are exactly the kinds of skills they will learn on our General English course. It’s a well-known fact that the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. Let your clients know that IH Galway is the perfect school to help them do this because we are an authentic language school located in the heart of Galway City with teachers and staff from the local area. We are also the only country in the EU with English as its first language. Students won’t find another school in the EU with such a unique blend of great location, outstanding service and top-class instruction for their studies. As soon as they arrive here, they will know that they chose the right school for their English language experience. Over time their feelings of anxiety will slowly turn into excitement and confidence. There’s no better feeling than finally understanding or using a new expression in a conversation with a local, or realising that maybe you’re pretty good at this English thing after all!

We also know that the Irish accent can be challenging for a lot of English learners. The good news is that many of our teachers are from Galway and the surrounding areas, so students can practice listening to the Irish accent in the classroom and learn common Irish phrases directly from a local. Now might also be the perfect time to let your clients know that the Irish accent was recently voted the “sexiest accent in the world.” You can find out more in The Irish Post News section online.

“But how much will I understand when I’m at work or outside the classroom?” This is when being in Galway is a big advantage. The community here is really patient and friendly with non-native speakers. They want to have a conversation with you and are more than happy to help English learners understand what they’re saying. In fact the biggest problem might be getting them to stop talking because they always love a good chat. Galway has been recognised as the friendliest and most charming city in Europe recently and this is why! Read more here.

The language barrier is an understandable fear, but make sure students know that this is something that will get easier the longer they stay here. It’s a strange but exciting part of the experience!

#2 What if I feel lonely or homesick?

Loneliness and feeling homesick are a natural part of moving away from home. We all love our families and miss the comforts of home when we’re away. At IH Galway we do our best to create an open and welcoming environment where students can find a new sense of community and belonging. Our breakroom is the place where students go between classes to exchange plans and invitations to parties, the cinema, the pub or whatever fun event is happening that week. Students will also have the opportunity to sign up for the school’s social events like our conversation club and pub nights, so they can get to know other students (and their teachers!) even better.

Of course, students won’t have to leave their loved ones behind completely. The internet has made communicating with friends and family at home incredibly easy. Students can organise a big reunion with family and friends once they’ve settled in. Living abroad is a great excuse for their loved ones to go on a holiday to Ireland.

Paint a picture for them! Get them to imagine finally being able to show their favourite people around their new home and getting to introduce them to all the wonderful new people they’ve met. Build up their excitement for the future - there’s nothing better than joining two worlds you love together!

#3 How will I fit in this new place?

Once students arrive in Ireland they will immediately notice the differences between their home country and this one. The times we eat may be different. The way we eat may be different. We may celebrate different holidays and do things that seem incredibly strange. Assure them that it’s okay to be confused at times! This is all part of the learning process. Luis from Seville, a current student at IH Galway, has said he has fallen in love with Galway and its culture and people and he added that he has made so many friends already that he has decided to stay and settle down here. He also is grateful for the continuous support the school has given him every step of the way.

Culture and language learning go hand in hand. The best way for students to adapt to their new home is to get involved! The streets and pubs of Galway have never been more diverse. People from all over the world have become part of this wonderful city - and it’s surprisingly easy! All you have to do is find what you love. Give your students some advice. If they love food, tell them to go to a local restaurant or café. Suggest that they ask the people there about what they do, or ask for recommendations on the next place to try. The locals in Galway are really friendly and love talking about the place they call home! If your student loves music, recommend one of Galway’s traditional pubs where they can settle into the city’s infectious atmosphere. Music is a big part of Galway’s cultural scene and has bonded people together for generations. Live performances are a great way to meet new people.

It’s also worth reminding clients that other students in their class will probably be in the same position as them. They also won’t know where to go or what to do. Advise them to invite other students to take part in their adventures so they can discover the city together. This is why studying at a language school like IH Galway is so important. Newcomers already have a community of like-minded people who want to explore their new home as much as they do - and Galway is here to welcome them with open arms.

We want students to know that their fears are valid, but it’s also important to face them. Remind them that the challenges are part of the rewards. No matter where they come from, they will find their place here at International House Galway!

Schedule a meeting with us so we can help answer any of your questions!

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