Learning to speak a foreign language is like learning to ride a bike: you don’t learn to ride a bike by studying the parts of a bike or watching the videos of other bikers. You learn by doing. At Godel, some Language Clubs have been created, which gives the employees a lovely opportunity to practice speaking a foreign language in a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Now that the company has offices in Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Georgia, and UAE it’s very important the employees can chat with the natives to feel more comfortable during their work and daily routine.

To learn how the Godel Language Clubs work, we talked to the Head of Language Development & Intercultural Communication Elena Korenko and the teachers of English, Polish and Lithuanian at Godel.

Firstly, the English Club was created – it happened long ago, in 2007. Elena Korenko is recalling how it was set up and run.

“When I joined Godel in 2007, I always tried to organise some extra activities apart from giving the English classes: I would bring my UK/Irish friends over to the office when they were visiting me so that the Godelers could speak with a native speaker of English face to face, or I would organise a movie night in English! Then I inspired some employees to perform a pantomime before Christmas and they loved it so much that it became a fantastic tradition. I then came up with another idea: I thought it would be lovely to create an English Club for those employees who can’t attend English classes regularly but who would love to improve their English. So, the first English Club Session was set up and run ages ago! Nowadays, both offline and online English / Polish and Lithuanian Club Sessions are set up and run in different Godel locations.”

The English Teacher Alesia Vasileuskaya says traditional classroom settings often leave learners wishing more when it comes to real-world communication experiences. This is where the Language Clubs step in offering a dynamic and practical approach to language learning.

Nowadays apart from the English Club, there are also Polish and Lithuanian Clubs at Godel. The sessions are usually run once a month, both online and offline. Why are they important for our employees?

“I am conducting the offline Polish Clubs sessions at Godel Warsaw. The clubs are important because they allow the employees to have fun and at the same time develop language skills. Lessons have their own rules, and during club sessions, you can relax and use the language a little bit differently,” – explains the Polish Teacher Katarzyna Jonkisz-Okraska.

Real-life communication is one of the main ideas of the Language Clubs. They allow to create such an environment that enhances the communication skills of the Godel employees. Katarzyna Jonkisz-Okraska thinks that the clubs aim to show the language from a slightly different, less school-like side. An informal atmosphere and interesting, sometimes extraordinary, topics allow the guys to feel at ease and have a chance to look at the language from a different perspective.

“I think the concept of the Language Club is amazing: any employee, no matter what their level of the language is, can join the Club Session to practice a foreign language by speaking it in a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It helps the employees overcome any language barrier and open up. Every time we do different activities: we play various games, sing songs, organise different competitions, go out and speak English / Polish / Lithuanian, talk about the country, its culture/customs/traditions… The Language Club is a brilliant place for our employees to express their inner English / Polish / Lithuanian side,” – says Elena Korenko.

At Godel Vilnius, the first offline Lithuanian Club session was held at the end of 2023. Our Lithuanian Teacher Margarita Rakalovich does her best to create a nice atmosphere for the participants to let them talk, feel free to learn something new about Lithuanian culture and language.

The activities during the sessions can be different – the choice depends on the teacher’s and the Club participants’ imagination and creativity.

“During The English Club sessions, we use a wide range of various activities which are aimed at both, encouraging an effective discussion and having some fun and interesting time. Examples of such activities are debates, “Call My Bluff”, “The Human Bingo”, “Allias”, “Charades”, “Kahoot” and other games. The participants of the English Club sessions also have a chance to enrich their vocabulary with some lovely idioms and expressions, develop their narrative skills and boost creativity by making and retelling stories based on pictures. Besides all these activities, in the Bialystok office, there have been a few Theme Clubs, like “A Karaoke Battle”, “Speed Friending”, “An English Movie Night”, which has even become our office tradition. Once a month we pick up an English film, gather to watch and discuss it, play some games and do some quizzes based on the films we watch,” – Alesia Vasileuskaya says.

During the Language Club sessions, our employees speak a lot, play different games, sing songs and get lots of insights into another language/culture, which helps them feel more confident and interact more effectively with the UK teams and the locals.

All our teachers agree that hosting Language Club sessions is great fun – all of them are always filled with lots of inspiration, laughter, and joy.

Another advantage of the Language Clubs is that the participants at different levels of language learning are welcome – the sessions provide a supportive environment for improvement. The key is fostering a positive atmosphere where everyone feels engaged and encouraged to communicate and learn.

The plans are amazing: the teachers have plenty of ideas on how to make the language clubs even more effective and beneficial for our employees. They are planning to carry on the tradition of Themed Sessions as well as organise some interactive workshops on pronunciation, idioms, and cultural nuances.

“In the coming months, I would like to organise a film afternoon/evening in Polish and combine it with a discussion on film-related topics. Another activity that I really want to do is “Cooking in Polish”, i.e. creating a simple dish and introducing the names of activities in the kitchen and elements of culinary recipes. It is a brilliant combination of theory and practice. These are just examples, there will definitely be a lot of interesting content!” – Katarzyna Jonkisz-Okraska says.

Margarita Rakalovich has some plans of going out together with the participants of the Lithuanian Club – cinema, theatre, trips to the Vilnius centre with the Lithuanian guides – it all sounds great!

‘I’m grateful to the language teachers for supporting my idea and concept of the Language Club, running the Club sessions in the multiple Godel locations and coming up with some new amazing ideas. Watch this space for details of our next Language Club Sessions!’ – says Elena.