“So friendly, so knowledgeable and never bombards you with jargon”
Jorge Ulloa has set his ambition to become the Spanish tutor in Blackpool. With the help of Blackpool Unlimited’s Kriss Wilson, Jorge’s Spanish School is already well on its way to becoming un gran éxito (a great success).
Jorge Ulloa is on a mission to spread the word about Spanish. It’s not just that, Mandarin aside, it’s spoken by more native speakers than any other language on earth (and yes, that includes English). It’s because of the associations people have with it.
“English is the language of business,” Jorge explains. “But Spanish is the language of fun. It conjures images of good weather and good times. One student once said to me ‘when I speak Spanish, I feel relaxed’”.
Originally from Peru, where the official national language is Spanish, Jorge has spent almost exactly half his life in the Spanish-speaking world and half in the UK. When his friends wanted to use their pandemic-enforced downtime to learn a new language, Jorge became their natural Zoom buddy. It was then he realised he could turn his experience and qualifications (for 15 years he lectured in Spanish and English as a foreign language at Blackpool & Fylde College, and holds a bachelor's degree in education, a PGCE, an advanced diploma in TESOL and a LAMDA bronze award) into a business.
Spanish lessons from a native Spanish speaker
There’s more than one Spanish teacher in Blackpool. Jorge’s ace card is that he is a native speaker. It’s one of the reasons his students choose him, and he’s eager to stress the advantage that gives them.
“There’s something about a native speaker that makes a lesson special. They have a lived history with the language. That means you learn the language as it is truly spoken, not as the textbook says it or as my grandmother used to speak it. As a trained performer, I’m able to make the lessons fun, to perform a role, to put on an accent. I have students who come to my class and tell me it’s the highlight of their week. I cannot do it any other way. I cannot do boring!”
Launching Jorge’s Spanish School
Jorge knew all he needed to know about Spanish, teaching and performance, but launching his own business was entirely new to him. Blackpool Unlimited’s Kriss Wilson was on hand to help.
“The first thing I said to Kriss was ‘please help me’,” Jorge recalls. “You know, I don't know how to be a self-employed teacher. She gave me very good advice. First, she encouraged me not to be too modest, to tell people about my qualifications and experience.”
“She helped with my business plan, helping me expand it and giving me lots of things to think about. She gave me very good ideas, like running ‘Spanish in the park’ sessions, for example, or hiring a local church hall to run my lessons. She suggested I contact the Old Electric in Blackpool, which I already knew about because of my performance background, but I’d never thought of it as a venue for my business. She also connected me with COBRA, the business reference tool which has lots of factsheets and market reports to help you get started in business.
“As well as the practical information, she also gave me lots of confidence and reassurance, which you need when you’re launching a business.”
Today, Jorge’s Spanish School is reaching more and more new students – and some live far beyond Blackpool. “I do have a student who lives in Los Angeles. She’s in a city of 1.2 million Mexicans and still wants to learn Spanish with me. That’s so reassuring.”
“Talk to Kriss”
Jorge is clear about the next step for any fledgling business. “Talk to Kriss at Blackpool Unlimited,” he says. “She’s so friendly, so knowledgeable and never bombards you with jargon. She's been so good.”
To book your Spanish lesson with Jorge, call 07926437423 or find him at:
Facebook: Jorge's Spanish Lessons in Blackpool, UK
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