Dear Nica Times:
On Sept. 11, two dozen Tourist Police officers in Granada began three months of intensive English classes, which are being given at the GranadaEnglishCollege and sponsored by the British Embassy.
The officers will attend eight hours of classes per week to improve their English conversational abilities, so they can more easily interact with foreigners in the city.
Tim Rogers of The Nica Times and Scott Deitler of the Amigos de Policia assisted the British Embassy in finding the school and the initial coordination with the Granada Tourist Police. The embassy obtained the funding through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Consular Directorate and the classes are part of a “Safe Travel” campaign that the embassy will be launching later this year in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
The officers are eager to learn English because it will help them to interact with tourists, and they believe it will also enrich their individual lives and the community as a whole.
“English is very important because I want to speak to other people and understand what they need. English will help me in the future as a professional,” said Officer Francisco Abea.
Overall, GranadaEnglishCollege and the British Embassy are providing a lot of advantages to the Granada community by educating the city’s Tourist Police. Tourists will find it easier to navigate the city with the help of English-speaking police officers and interactions between foreigners and police will be less difficult, which will encourage more tourists to visit the city, increasing the tourism industry in Granada.
The Granada Tourist Police officers who are taking classes at the GranadaEnglishCollege come from various towns around Granada, such as Diria,Masaya,Masatepe and Diriomo.
Officer Ligia Guerrero of Diriamba said, “English will help me with the tourists that come to Granada. I can give them information or directions. English will help me with my children, too; now I’ll be able to help them with their homework.”
GranadaEnglishCollege is a collaboration between three owner/operators: U.S. citizen Tomas Scott Banks, Granadino teacher Larry Gutiérrez, and Granadina school director Sarai de los Angeles Medrano.
The school’s eight-hour-a-week program provides several hours of conversational practice, plus vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing, listening and pronunciation. The classes attended by the Tourist Police are being taught by Granadinos Francisco and Larry Gutiérrez. So far, the teachers say they are pleased with the officers’ progress and they emphasize that “practice makes perfect.”
The enthusiasm of the participating Tourist Police to learn English will hopefully make the program a success, providing Granada with a bilingual Tourist Police force in the coming years and hopefully help to make Granada a tourism destination of choice.
Mary Beth Hall