A Welsh learner from the Czech Republic, who now lives in Pembrokeshire, says learning Welsh has opened doors for her and has made her feel part of another family.
Martina Roberts, who speaks Czech, English and a little German, moved to the UK 18 years ago, and today lives in Pembroke Dock with her Welsh-speaking husband, Siôn.
Two years ago, Martina completed the Welsh in a Year sabbatical course for teachers, and now uses her Welsh daily in her role as Foundation Phase Teacher and Coordinator at Manorbier Primary School.
Since completing the sabbatical, Martina has signed up to a weekly Learn Welsh class. She currently follows an Intermediate level course with Learn Welsh Pembrokeshire, which is run by Pembrokeshire County Council on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh.
Martina misses her family back in the Czech Republic dearly, but feels that she belongs to Wales, as she explains;
‘‘I do miss my family but they are very supportive. They understand why I feel a responsibility to learn the Welsh language, as I consider Wales to be my home. Since I started learning Welsh, I’ve felt a sense of belonging to Wales, and I want to use the skills I’ve gained to promote the language as much as I can in the school.’’
The National Centre for Learning Welsh will be offering Learn Welsh courses free of charge for those working in the education sector in Wales from September. Martina has thoroughly enjoyed learning Welsh, and would encourage others to do the same;
‘‘Go for it, don’t worry about making mistakes. Take advantage of every possible opportunity to speak, listen or read in Welsh. What worked for me was making a note of the new words I learnt every day, and reading them before I went to bed.’’
Martina loves using her Welsh in various settings, and is working hard to support staff at Manorbier primary school and develop bilingualism across the school;
‘‘I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to practise speaking Welsh. I now speak Welsh with my husband and his family, with staff and children at the school and within the wider community. The sabbatical course was the very start of my learning journey and I can’t wait to see where Welsh takes me next!’’