E51 – Judge Al Hasan’s Experience Learning English (Interview)

In today’s episode we hear from Judge Naser Alhasan, he is a Syrian judge, who like millions of other people, fled to Turkey due to the Syrian war. He has a wealth of legal expertise, but when he moved to Turkey he came across many barriers due to language. Thankfully he came across ILAC  (International Legal Assistance Consortium), an organisation that works with legal experts from around the world to help rebuild justice systems in countries which are affected by conflict. ILAC in collaboration with AIJA (International Association of Young Lawyers) were running a fantastic ground-breaking project offering free legal English training to legal professionals displaced by war. So, Judge Alhasan began studying on this course and in today’s episode he shares his experience of learning English.

This episode is a great opportunity to hear from another English learner and to practise your listening skills, hearing a Syrian accent in English.

Judge Al Hasan overcoming barriers to learn English

Judge Al Hasan overcoming barriers to learn English

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00:00:00: LOUISE: You’re listening to the Study Legal English Podcast, the world’s first Legal English podcast,
00:00:10: helping lawyers and law students become fluent in Legal English.


00:00:20: Hello and welcome back to the Study Legal English Podcast. I took a short break but now I’m back with episode 51 and with many more podcast episodes to follow.
00:00:34: In fact, the next few episodes are all interviews with legal experts from different sectors from around the world.
00:00:42: In today’s episode we hear from a man, who like millions of other people, had to flee from Syria due to war.
00:00:51: Now it’s difficult for many of us to imagine what this must have been like, but what we can imagine, and perhaps some of you listeners have experienced this, is being in a country and not speaking the language.
00:01:05: Suddenly despite who we are, despite everything we know,
00:01:08: we are helpless without the ability to communicate – and this is a very difficult thing to go through for anyone.
00:01:18: So the man that we are hearing from today is in fact a Syrian judge.
00:01:25: His name is Judge Naser Al Hasan and he has a wealth of legal expertise.
00:01:32: When he moved to Turkey he came across many barriers due to language.
00:01:38: Thankfully, he came across ILAC – that’s the International Legal Assistance Consortium,
00:01:44: an organisation that works with legal experts from around the world to help rebuild justice systems in countries which are affected by conflict.
00:01:54: ILAC in collaboration with AIJA – the International Association of Young Lawyers were running a fantastic, ground-breaking programme, offering free Legal English training to legal professionals displaced by War.
00:02:09: And so Judge Al Hasan began studying on this course and he agreed to tell me about his experience of learning English.
00:02:18: Maybe you can relate to his learning experience. For example, he mentions as he we’ll hear, the challenge of understanding others speaking English.
00:02:28: Now many of my Legal English students have said to me:
00:02:35: “Louise, I can speak brilliantly with you in our lessons and I understand you perfectly! But when I’m in a conference call or when I have to speak to other people I just can’t understand them –
00:02:50: they speak too fast, they have a strong accent, they use difficult words.”
00:02:56: Well, part of learning English is to listen to all different types, and part of what
00:03:04: I try to do in this podcast, is to present you with interesting topics
00:03:09: as well as to interview both native and non-native speakers – to give you the opportunity to hear different accents from around the world.
00:03:20: Here Judge Al Hasan gives us the opportunity to hear a Syrian accent whilst talking about his really interesting experience of learning English.
00:03:30: And I’m sure you’ll agree he is an inspiration showing that we can all overcome barriers and meet our English goals.
00:03:40: So now, I will pass you over to Judge Al Hasan.


00:03:47: JUDGE AL HASAN: Hello everyone, ‘my experience of learning English’. At first, let me introduce myself.
00:03:54: I am Judge Al Hasan from Homs Governate in Syria. I am 48 years old. Now I am working as a legal consultant at the International Legal Assistance Consortium.


00:04:07: My story with learning English: English is the most widely spoken language in the world.
00:04:14: A quarter of the world’s population speaks this language, which is the second language of a person. It is therefore a great way to communicate with the world.
00:04:25: Mastering this language would increase my ability to read and research the constitutions and laws of other countries.
00:04:34: In January of 2016, I began a free English language course funded by the Young German Bar Association.
00:04:44: So I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and learn this language.
00:04:50: In fact, the beginning was a bit difficult but I was aware that I had to exert myself and I made a personal plan.
00:04:59: In addition to the course I started to memorise
00:05:03: new words in English and the grammar. As I learnt in the course mentioned, there are four skills which must be learnt in an integrated way –
00:05:15: of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
00:05:19: So I took the subject gradually and realised that an academic approach was necessary.
00:05:27: I was confident that patience and follow-up is the best solution to overcome this challenge.
00:05:35: I actually went step-by-step and, in the meantime, whenever I meet someone who spoke English I tried to talk to him,
00:05:44: but the difficulty was – when the other party was talking I needed to put more and more effort in to understand.
00:05:53: So I started searching the internet for programs that could help me learn English, especially with listening skills.
00:06:02: As time passed, I began to feel better with all my skills and I started writing my emails in English and translating emails.
00:06:11: In fact, at this particular stage my love for English began to grow
00:06:17: and my self-confidence started to increase but at the same time, I developed my plan to master English without stopping until I reached a good and developed stage.
00:06:30: It was not easy, and I had great challenges –
00:06:35: I don’t have time as a student, I have a job and family duties. All these circumstances
00:06:43: were challenging but the most important and real challenge is the state of war in my country, and the negative psychological impact
00:06:53: I feel when I follow the news on a daily basis – and this is one of the greatest challenges.
00:07:01: Despite all this, I have faced all these challenges and overcome them and reached a good stage in learning the language of English –
00:07:11: through determination and determination and not despair, and developing plans and programs that fit my daily life.


00:07:21: The impact of learning English on my personality and my life: This experience has had a wonderful positive effect, especially in the legal field.
00:07:31: For example, once I was looking for the British constitution but was surprised that there is no written constitution in Britain.
00:07:44: In the legal workshops I introduce myself and discuss with the foreign trainers in the English language and this is very enjoyable.
00:07:54: Again – I was with my teammates in a meeting,
00:07:58: with people who speak English and one of my colleagues had a degree in English and he was a translator,
00:08:07: but he translated all day and so for a while, I was translating and I felt that I had done a positive job.
00:08:18: Learning English has had an impact on my family in the last year of 2017.
00:08:23: When my son finished secondary school and wanted to choose a university he preferred to study in the English language engineering department.
00:08:38: And when I asked him why he chose this path,
00:08:42: he told me that “the English language is the means of communication with the outside world”.
00:08:49: In fact, the English language has made me someone else in my personality.
00:08:55: I am now thinking of pursuing my higher studies in English at a Turkish university.
00:09:04: The fact that I want to get a PhD in Law and studying English is great,
00:09:13: and I will strive to achieve this goal as much as I can.
00:09:17: Gaziantep on 12th of July 2018, Judge Al Hasan.


00:09:29: LOUISE: So that brings us to the end of the episode. I hope you learnt something and are now inspired to progress with your Legal English goals and to succeed just as Judge Al Hasan is doing – step by step.
00:09:44: What did you think? What challenges have you faced with English and Legal English?
00:09:51: Send me your comments to info@studylegalenglish.com I would really love to hear from you.
00:09:58: If you want to find out more about ILAC’s projects go to www.ilacnet.org that’s:
00:10:11:  i l a c n e t. o r g
00:10:14: And you can find more information about this episode including the transcript at www.studylegalenglish.com/episode51. So thanks for listening and see you next time!
00:10:27: (Music)

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