Welsh learner turned tutor now delivering classes to university students and staff

Date: 12 January 2024

A Welsh learner who became fluent in three years is now teaching the language to students and staff at Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham University.  

At the beginning of this academic year, Teresa Davies took up the post of Welsh Language Skills Tutor at the University – despite the fact Welsh was her second language after taking lessons, while studying for her degree. 

Originally from Sligo, Ireland, Teresa attained a scholarship to study Microbiology and Genetics at Aberystwyth University but changed her course to Celtic Studies to follow her interest in Celtic culture, literature and history. 

As Teresa’s interest and passion for Wales and the Welsh language grew, she made the bold decision to study a degree through the medium of Welsh after one year of starting to learn the language. This resulted in her studying an intensive Welsh course over eight weeks in Lampeter, in preparation for the final two years of the degree being taught through the medium of Welsh.  

Teresa now uses Welsh as her primary language at home with her husband and two children, who are all first-language Welsh.  

Her determination is inspiring her colleagues and students to sign up to learn Welsh. 

She said: “I would like to think that my story is one that can inspire other learners – particularly those, who have never communicated in Welsh before. 

“Welsh isn’t an easy language to master, but I would like to think that my experience demonstrates that if a non-Welsh speaker can do it and then go on to teach the language, it is possible to learn a new language.” 

When asked what prompted her to apply for the role at Wrexham, Teresa said: “I think it's my time to give back because I've had so many excellent experiences learning Welsh myself from different tutors, I wanted people to have that same experience from me.” 

Before taking on the role at Wrexham, Teresa worked for a Welsh medium primary school based in Mold, helping children from Welsh and Non-Welsh speaking families, accelerate their learning of the Welsh language through class based learning and leading extra-curricular activities.  

Teresa’s appointment at the University has seen Welsh Language lessons get off to a strong start this academic year.  
Mae penodiad Teresa yn y Brifysgol wedi gweld gwersi Cymraeg yn cychwyn yn gryf y flwyddyn academaidd hon. 

By facilitating the lessons, Teresa is helping the University work towards the Welsh Government’s goal of reaching one million Welsh speakers by 2050.  

The sessions have seen more than 40 staff members register. A separate Welsh language course for students is also available who, upon completion, receive a Welsh in the Workplace qualification. 

Jonathan Lloyd, Marketing and Communications Content Producer, who started the second level of the Cymraeg Gwaith course, said: “My level of confidence using the Welsh language continues to grow thanks to Teresa’s support.  

“As someone from Wales originally but not from a Welsh speaking family, it is extremely important to me to be able to learn the language. Now, being able to speak with colleagues, students and represent the University in Welsh at events such as the Pwllheli Eisteddfod gives me a huge sense of achievement. 

“Being taught by Teresa, who learned Welsh as her second language motivates and inspires me that I will be able to reach the same level.” 

Elen Mai Nefydd, Head of Welsh Language Development at the University, added: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with the National Centre for Learning Welsh on the provision of the Welsh Work scheme for staff.   

“As we now have a Welsh Language Skills Tutor in place, we can offer four levels of provision for staff to learn Welsh. It is fantastic to see so many members of staff at the University engaging with the programme.