Starting Out: Welsh Beginner Award Winner
Nominated by: The National Centre for Learning Welsh
When Josh Osborne decided to move to Wales to live with his Welsh-speaking partner, one thing he knew for certain was that he wanted to learn the language and become a confident Welsh speaker.
So, in May 2020, while completing his master’s degree and still living in England, Josh started an experimental course being held by the National Centre for Learning Welsh.
On finishing the course, which combined learning with a tutor with online self-study, Joshua knew he wanted to carry on learning, so he could achieve his dream of using the language in his everyday life. So, he signed up to an intensive Welsh course with Learn Welsh Glamorgan, which is run by the University of South Wales on behalf of the National Centre.
He said: “My mum is German, so I grew up in a bilingual household. I never had a passion for languages in school, but when I made the decision to move to Wales to live with my partner and their family, it seemed natural that I would learn to speak Welsh.
“My partner is a fluent Welsh speaker, and I felt learning Welsh would help bring us closer together, and open new ways of communicating, like everyone, I’ve found the past year or so incredibly difficult. I felt isolated and lonely. It really took a toll on my mental health. Learning Welsh has really helped me manage my mental health”
“I decided to start the intensive course which was designed to help people become fluent in two years. It’s quite a big time commitment at nine hours a week so most of the people on the course are retired – I was the youngest on my course.
Josh’s employer, British Isles DBT Training in Wrexham, was supportive of his desire to learn Welsh, giving him time in the working week to study and practice.
Josh said: ““I’m now about to start my next six-week course, which runs for four hours a day from Monday to Friday. It’s crazy to think that this time last year I couldn’t even say ‘Dw I’n hoffi coffi’ (I like coffee), but now I’m only months away from being able to hold my own in any Welsh conversation.”
“My advice to anyone thinking of learning a language is to go for it. You won’t regret it and there are loads of benefits. The courses are designed to be accessible, and you can learn quickly.
“I’ve found every aspect of my Welsh courses very rewarding – it’s helped me through a pandemic, brought me closer to my partner and allowed me to feel more immersed in Welsh culture.