Abundant human interaction is arguably one of the best ways for an aging person to enjoy a great quality of life in their elderly years. It is also the best way for young people to learn a new language. The human connection is what makes both of these seemingly unrelated situations meaningful.
Tim Nudd of Adweek.com reported on FCB Brazil, who, in Partnership with the CNA Language School in Liberdade, Brazil, has found a way to bring young Brazilian students and older Americans together in a way that benefits both. This project is called the Speaking Exchange and it uses webcams that allow the residents of the Windsor Park Retirement Community in Chicago to chat with Brazilian language students, with the aim of helping the young students to learn English through natural conversations with native speakers. CNA plans to implement the program in all 580 of its language schools around Brazil.
Click the image below to read Nudd’s article on Adweek.com:
The residents of Windsor Park have the opportunity to help the students with their English speaking skills and in turn, they are able to form gratifying and uplifting relationships with the younger learners. Particularly for the aging residents, the experience is gratifying as it allows them to share their experiences and to play an important and helpful role in the development of the students. Although Windsor Park is known for its variety of social outlets for its residents, and the people who live there may not necessarily be universally labeled as “lonely elderly Americans”, there is no doubt that the experience is enriching for both the residents and the students.
Cultural awareness is also something that is invaluable for young people in an increasingly technological society, and having everyday interactions with people from other countries (and other generations) is invaluable in teaching perspective and appreciation for other cultures, and in particular, value for older persons and the potential for their importance to society past their working years.