Edinburgh-born Fiona Gomes’ love of languages led her to create a business where she could brush up her Spanish, German, French and Italian! Using up some down time in city centre cafes, she has created a series of fun language classes where all that is spoken is the language, led by a tutor, who is a native speaker, at each session.
There are always at least 2 tutors at each session, so that anybody with a basic knowledge of the language can drop in and join a group of similar fluency. Classes cost £6 a head, plus cost of refreshments, and groups of no more than 6 chatter for (up to) an hour a time.
Fiona was ready for a career change after 20 years providing training within the financial services sector.
Yakety Yak Language Café has grown quickly since March 2010, to 100 students a week of all ages, from 16 – 87! Born from an idea that perhaps others felt the same way as she did, the cafes are designed to help people practice their conversational skills and socialise in another language. Fiona studied French and German at school (but never used her skills), then studied Spanish at university and spoke Portuguese when she lived in Brazil and was married to a Brazilian, but then did not use her language skills.
Currently groups meet in eteaket in Frederick Street, Howies in Bruntsfield, Valvona Crolla’s VinCaffe in Multrees Walk, moo cafeteria at Canonmills, and Café Montagu at Goldenacre. Most classes are held in the morning which suits those who are not working, or those working flexible hours. The Vincaffe and some Howie’s events take place at 6pm. There are plans to expand to Stockbridge and Leith and wherever there is a demand, and to increase the range of languages available, possibly starting Mandarin and Russian conversation sessions later in the year.
Says Fiona: “Formal language classes complement what we offer, if you can make that commitment to a term of classes in the evenings. But our classes are very flexible – you don’t have to make the commitment. You can just drop in or drop out. Many people who come already speak the languages very well, but welcome the opportunity to keep using the language, so they do not become rusty. The concept is also about socialising, meeting people, enjoying a coffee or a glass of wine, being relaxed about it and having fun!”
You can check out where the next classes are being held on Fiona’s web site at:
This information and further details from: Carol Anderson, The Business tel 0131 718 6022, mobile 07836 546 256