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We are never too old to start learning

Learning new things keeps our brains sharp. Keeping curious, active and thirsty for knowledge are traits we should all cultivate, and this is most important for senior citizens. Not only does it keep our brains alert, but we can meet new people through education, make new social contacts, and improve our overall psychosocial and emotional health. Education opens the door to new friendships, and travel gives us a new outlook on life.

That is exactly what happened at our school in Zagreb between the 11th and 15th of March when we organised a partnership meeting and training session as part of the European Senior Exchange project.

The aim of the training workshop was to introduce senior citizens to the Callan Method and improve their English language knowledge.

Partner organisations CDU Ljubljana and LudskaUniverza Kranja also attended, as well as the project holder, HIHTAST.

A total of 15 people participated in the workshop.

The first day was reserved for introductions. Our organisation introduced the Callan Method, as well as the whole array of work our organisation is involved in.

After getting familiar with the Callan Method, the participants were tested to determine their level of English knowledge and subsequently divided into groups, so that they were ready to learn English for 5 days.

Working with senior citizens is a pleasure on so many levels. The elderly are aware of their abilities and have experience with lifelong learning, which they can easily apply to language learning. The Callan Method itself enables learning to be easier, faster and, most importantly, focused on speaking – allowing students to communicate in English as easily and quickly as possible.

On Day One, we had already divided the participants into two groups – an advanced group and an advanced beginners group. As is the case with the Callan Method, teachers from various English-speaking countries took turns teaching their lessons. Participants were able to get to know teachers from Canada, South Africa and the UK. The Belgian participants were amazed that they could speak Dutch with our South African teacher J

Besides the Callan Method course, participants had a chance to learn digital skills, and they created their own collage using the PicCollage.com and Snapseed apps.

To provide our participants with a cultural experience, we prepared a Callan Method course for them in the Croatian language, as well as a pop quiz about Croatian culture.

Our teacher, Tamara, prepared a digital 'scavengehunt' for them, which lead the participants on an exploration of Zagreb using the Actionbound app. To participate in the digital tour, participants had to learn how to use the app with a QR codescanner, as well as the app itself. On top of that, participants had the task of discovering the wonders of Zagreb within a set time, competing to see who could solve the puzzles first.

We concluded the day with a cultural dinner at Medvedgrad Pub, where everyone had the opportunity to try traditional specialties and local beer.

On the last two days, we held our 'Talk Like A Native' workshop, and continued with leaning English.

On our last day, we enjoyed some Belgian chocolate and coffee, and had the evaluation.

In conclusion, we provided the senior citizens with a lifelong learning experience we will all cherish and remember!

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful week of learning and socialising!

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