In September 2022, the National Centre for Learning Welsh will be offering free Welsh courses to young people aged 18-25.
One of the young people that is currently learning Welsh with the centre is Natalie Thomas.
Brought up in Haverfordwest, 29 year old Natalie always had a strong connection with the Welsh language.
She attended Tasker Milward Secondary School in Haverfordwest, where she did a GCSE and A Level in Welsh and was bought up to the sound of the language, especially when she visited her Welsh-speaking grandparents in Llanelli.
Natalie said: “Since I was small, I’ve been able to pick up bits and pieces and I loved learning Welsh in school. I had an amazing Welsh teacher and really enjoyed studying Welsh as a second language for my GCSEs and A Levels.”
Then when she was 24 years old, she decided that she wanted to go further with her learning and re-introduce the language to her life.
She continued: “I started with apps such as Duolingo and Say Something in Welsh, BBC Bitesize and watching programmes such as Jonathan and Pobol y Cwm on S4C. I also started speaking more Welsh with my mam-gu and tad-cu in Llanelli.”
Natalie then decided she wanted to join a Learn Welsh class and started having lessons with Learn Welsh Pembrokeshire, which is run by Pembrokeshire County Council on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh, in September 2020.
“The lessons are great, and my tutor, Ann, is amazing. I’ve made lot of friends through the lessons and it’s really nice to be able to speak Welsh with them.
“It has helped with my confidence speaking Welsh – I don’t like getting things wrong and that has held me back a little bit in the past from speaking more Welsh. My brain thinks in English first and I sometimes muddle up the order in which a sentence works in Welsh.
“But the lessons have definitely helped me to give Welsh a go in my day-to-day life.”
Natalie added: “Learning a language is so rewarding, and I would encourage anyone thinking about it just to do it. It may sound silly, but it makes me so proud that I am now learning a language that you can only use in Wales – it’s our language, and an important part of our culture.
“I just love the fact that I’m learning our language.”
For more information, and to register your interest in learning Welsh, head to: https://learnwelsh.cymru/learning/supporting-young-learners/
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