As a teenager, my best subjects at school were English, Biology and P.E. Looking back now, these interests still play a leading role in my life.
English became the University degree, Biology -of the human body and the environment- my hobby and my relentless energy found a way out in travelling and the outdoors.
It started in Oxford with becoming an au pair with an American family, while obtaining the Cambridge Proficiency certificate. Although fairly fluent at that stage, it still felt as if I knew far too little about the language and thus I enrolled at the University of Nijmegen.
Having experienced how quickly I picked up the language in a country where it is natively spoken, I endeavoured my master’s degree in Language & Literature in South Africa (Natal). On return, after some twists of fate, I found myself teaching IB-programmes at one of the first bilingual schools in the Netherlands, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
When the ‘obligatory reading list’ was reduced to next to nothing – which I thought was a real shame as I personally experienced the huge effect reading had had on my language acquisition – I decided to move on to another grammar school. It was here that I got to develop and teach Cambridge levels (apart from Shakespeare), which I then introduced again - following my next move - at the UDLM Academy for the International Logistics students.
In the 14 years of teaching at that Academy, I have trained thousands of young adults to get ready for the International Supply Chain playing field. Seeing them on LinkedIn these days, making big and interesting career moves, makes my heart swell with pride every single time.
I love teaching. Knowledge exchange is what gets me out of bed every morning. Only recently did I realise how much this actually ‘runs in my blood’. I had forgotten that my maternal grandfather was an English teacher and had founded Philips’ Language centre just after WWII. He passed away when I was 15. Big footsteps to follow in, I must admit.
Good English opens doors. It holds true every single time. Not just in one’s career but also when organising international travel. Taking groups of students over the world to have them see their studies in an international context allowed me to approach and get into amazing companies and organisations.
Understanding how big the effect of excellent English is for starting graduates, I wondered if I could achieve the same result with Dutch international companies, which is why I decided to create E-for-Excellence. The Netherlands is fairly leading in the Supply Chain, but with strong competition it could do with more support to stay in the top. For us humans, language is still the main factor in miscommunication. It is my mission to reduce that influence to a minimum and thus do better business.
I noticed that my English level had remained the same in recent years, and due to more international work it was time to invest in my English skills. Right at that moment, I met Elske from E-for-Excellence. It was such a pleasure working with her. As a gifted language coach she was always looking for my specific points to improve. Her interactive teaching ánd online courses bettered my fluency, my writing, my listening and my confidence. I loved the timetable flexibility, even on weekends, and, most of all, her dedication and patience.
I wholeheartedly recommend E-for-Excellence when you would like to advance yourself in the international market.
Paul van BeckumHead of Marketing & Communications, Alex van GroningenOct 2019
The one-on-one pronunciation training given by Elske was very interactive, which made it a great learning experience! It really helped me to communicate my message clearer in both business related and private conversations.
Sophie van LoonSite engineer, XPO Logistics
The training to improve my English language skills - given by Elske van der Wal - belongs to one of my most effective learning experience in recent years. Elske is a teacher at heart, very competent and aware that teaching is a social activity.
Dongen, 22 July 2019John SchellekensFounder I-kwadraat
E-for ExcellenceElske van der WalEtten-Leur