Introducing … Iain

Photo of IainLike many people in the UK, I started learning my first language (French) when I started secondary school (a.k.a. high school), at the age of 11. A year later, I was given the choice of taking up either German or Spanish; I chose German which I carried on learning for 4 years. I loved French so much that I carried it on at university alongside yet another language: Russian! Now that was quite a different challenge, but an awesome one. I spent a year in Russia as part of my degree, which happens also to be when I got together with my partner in crime, Clare!

Along the way, I’ve tried out other languages – Turkish, Mandarin (Chinese), Arabic – and I intend to carry on learning languages forever! This is part of the inspiration for Lingua Centra, making it a labour of love for the both of us. We both found it difficult to find language schools and learning resources that we could compare easily, so we took it upon ourselves to create a website that aims to make any language available to anybody, anywhere, and on any budget.

I’m also the web designer for this crazy project! I might write a bit more about this another time, but, I’ll give a brief explanation here. As with many start-ups, we decided to do as much as we can ourselves, so I went ahead and learnt  how to run a server, how to code (front-end and back-end for you techies out there), and so on. It’s been a challenge (!) but it’s incredibly rewarding. So, if you head over to our website, you can see our progress so far, hope you find it useful for your language learning journey! If you have any feedback, ping me an email or leave comments here 🙂


Introducing… Clare

Clare from Lingua Centra
At a rooftop terrace bar in Rome

I’ve been a language lover since an early age when a school dinner lady taught me how to count to ten in French during a lunch break at the age of 6! Now I speak four languages (English, French, Russian and British Sign Language) and am working on my fifth (Portuguese) and am keen to discuss and share my experiences with others on the journey of learning or mastering a language.

I started learning BSL age 11 when I attended a language lunch club at school to learn how to communicate with Deaf peers who were integrated into some of my classes. I’m now fluent and regularly attend events in London with Deaf friends as I can’t get enough of this visual-spatial language and being able to express myself without saying a word.

I started learning French at secondary school aged 11 and then picked up Russian for GCSE and continued both at The University of Exeter where I was social secretary for the Russian Society (more on this another time!). I lived in Russia for a year as part of my uni course, where I learnt a lot about language, culture and the ‘sink or swim’ feeling of being totally immersed in a language. During the year, I spent many an evening in cocktail and shisha bars with Iain on a mission to test out what we’d learnt in the classroom with our Russian friends who, luckily for us, were all very patient and supportive despite our limited Russian..!

Since graduating, I’ve regained my motivation for studying languages for the pure pleasure of traveling and socialising and have become much more focused on communication as a goal, rather than working towards an exam. This passion for raising the profile of language learning in the UK and unlocking languages to link people across the globe is why we established Lingua Centra. Through our website we are compiling a growing directory of language schools to help fellow linguists of any level or proficiency learn at home or abroad as well as listing other resources for you to realise the Lingua Centra mission that anyone, anywhere, on any budget can learn any language.

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