Love of Language Leads to OCN NI Spanish 6 for Pat

0 min read

26 May 2023

A love for Spanish keeps Pat Crane progressing

When Pat Crane, from Downpatrick, came to SERC to learn Spanish five years ago, little did she think she would continue studying it.  However, a love for languages has kept Pat coming back year after year to refresh and improve her knowledge.

Pat (59), started off with the OCN 1 in the language, progressed through to OCN 4 and is now completing the OCN NI Spanish 6 through her own determination.

Pat explains, “My main reason for starting to learn Spanish was to be able to understand the menu when I was eating out whilst on holiday.   I am vegetarian, so I wanted to be able to ask about the content of dishes and understand exactly what I was ordering.”

She says, “You really enjoy your holiday so much more when you have a bit of the language, and you have more opportunities to meet and interact with people when you make an effort to speak it.   People are forgiving if you make a mistake, but they really appreciate your efforts to communicate in their mother tongue.”

Pat adds, “I have always loved languages and before I progressed in Spanish at the College, I did Irish and got as far as my silver Fáinne – the name of the pin badge to show fluency in Irish language.”

Speaking about studying languages at SERC, Pat said, “Coming to SERC to study a language is not like learning a language at school.   You will find a very friendly atmosphere in the class. You are encouraged to participate when you feel confident to do so but you are not put on the spot.   The tutors are really tuned in to all the abilities, and their own enthusiasm for the language and the culture comes across – it's not just the vocabulary and grammar you learn, you also do a bit of geography, history and learn about customs of Spain and even taste traditional foods, all the while bringing the language to life.

“I have also made great friends over the years.   Our group share messages in Spanish as well as photos if they have been away on holiday, which all adds to the learning.”

Pat says, “I am keen to progress and continue learning – you have to use the language to keep the knowledge you have acquired.   I haven’t been abroad since 2019 (because of Covid) so I am looking forward to using it the next time I am in Spain.   I have been able to use it for work, though, when we had some Spanish speakers from Colombia who came to our last open night.   It was great to be able to greet them and asked them if they needed any help.”

Keen to impress that it is never too late to learn something new, Pat concludes, “Espero que vengas a SERC para aprender Español.'' (I hope you come to SERC to learn Spanish!)

Apply now for part time programmes commencing September 2023.

If you're interested in learning more about languages at SERC or other part-time courses, come along to SERC on Wednesday 7 June between 5pm and 8pm at the College’s Bangor Campus for our Adult Education Open Evening. Visit to unlock your future #BetterOffAtSERC.