Course Reviews

What our students say…

After an exceptionally engaging, thorough, and effective learning experience during the Tamil Foundations Course, I was grateful for the opportunity to continue my learning journey in the Intermediate Course.  

Building upon the solid foundations established in the previous course, the transition to the intermediate level has been smooth and seamless. The comprehensive and coherent syllabus has equipped us with the necessary skills to recognize and construct more complex yet essential sentences, including, for example, adverbial participles (ubiquitous in Tamil!), quotatives, or conditionals. Moreover, the course is designed to enhance our listening comprehension abilities by incorporating a range of listening exercises – and it is indeed fun to learn Tamil through song lyrics!  

I wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone seeking to improve their Tamil skills!  

—Patrícia Costa, PhD candidate in Linguistics, University of Lisbon
Intermediate, May 2023
Foundations, September 2022  
Starting the course with zero knowledge of tamil, I was amazed at how quickly I was able, with the support of the wonderful teachers, to start reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The lessons were always fun, dynamic, stimulating, and engaging. The teachers created an atmosphere that was warm and supportive, drawing on a diverse range of resources and techniques to familiarise everyone with the mechanics of the language. I am absolutely delighted with the progress I have made, and would recommend this course to anyone searching for an accessible entrypoint to tamil language and culture.

— Michael Sackur, DPhil Candidate in English, Oxford University
Intermediate, May 2023
Foundations, January 2023
I had been interested in learning Tamil all my adult life, but had a hard time learning on my own with resources available online. I got to know of the Learning Tamil Foundations course through a few friends who had taken the class.

The structure of the course allows the students to learn a wide range of topics related to grammar, tense as well as spoken Tamil in various situations. Each lesson builds upon previous lessons, while also covering new vocabulary. The class sizes are small which allows each student to participate. The class website was especially helpful to revise and practice and comes with plenty of helpful tools such as flashcards and pronunciations.

The teaching staff for my intake Gopi and Meera were amazing and patient at answering questions even outside class hours. One of my favorite parts of the course was listening and watching songs and videos Gopi and Meera sent out before a lesson. This was also the first class of any type I took in more than half a decade and I’m glad both Gopi and Meera pushed me esepcially when it came to translations.

Since the conclusion of the course, I have been practicing my Tamil with my family and friends. I’ve managed incorporate Tamil into two of my hobbies – cooking and reading. I’ve followed a few Tamil cooking channels are finally managed to make some decent பருத்தித்துறை வடை, while I’m reading
through பூனாச்சி by Perumal Murugan slowly and hope to finish it as well as other Tamil books I’ve already read the English translation. I wouldn’t have been able to make such progress without the Foundations course and I recommend to anyone even with zero knowledge of Tamil!

—Isuru Daulagala, Software Engineer, NVIDIA
Foundations, January 2023
I had been studying Tamil on my own on and off for a couple of years but only making slow progress. Then I found the Learning Tamil courses. Learning Tamil offers both basic and intermediate courses and both are thoughtfully put together, paced just right and strike the perfect balance between conversation grammar and reading. Tamil is a challenging language – at least for me! – but thanks to Learning Tamil I can glimpse the possibility of achieving some competence with it.  

—Steve Morris, Attorney-at-law & Partner at Katten
Intermediate, May 2023  
During a fieldwork trip to Jaffna, I set a goal for myself: I had to finally learn the dominant language of the Northern and Eastern provinces. After discovering the Tamil Foundations Course and signing up for the waitlist, I was finally able to attend the course and I must say it was one of the highlights of my year!  

The lessons are incremental and easy to follow, starting with the principles of the alphabet and gradually building up to the nominal and verbal phrases and more advanced grammar structures. Outside class hours, we benefit from a full-fledged textbook that is incredibly well-organized and useful, containing grammar content, vocabulary lists as well as all types of materials to practice at our own pace (texts, quizzes, flashcards, translation exercises, etc.)  

Overall, the course exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend this language course to anyone interested in learning Tamil – the teachers (Sushmitha & Meera) and structure of the course made it an engaging, thorough, and effective learning experience. I cannot wait to put my acquired skills into practice in real-life conversations! And it goes without saying that I am eagerly waiting for the intermediate course. நன்றி!  

—Patrícia Costa, PhD candidate in Linguistics, University of Lisbon
Foundations, September 2022  
I am very grateful for the effort that the instructors took to teach us the Tamil language. They were both very patient and it was remarkable that they used the correct teaching methodology to instruct middle-aged students. All of us enjoyed the classes and found them very interesting. Reading Tamil has now become a hobby for me and I am continuing to learn. Thank you all once again and we hope you can keep up the good work.  

—Izwan Sallay, General Manager HR, Emjay-Penguin group Group Intake
Foundations, September 2022  

  After years of struggling to learn Tamil, this course has restored my faith that I can one day be proficient in this difficult and beautiful language. Not only can I now read and write, I finally understand basic conversations and have begun to be able to express myself – something very much appreciated by all my long-suffering Tamil friends who have tried to teach me and failed over the years!  

Alongside the wonderful people teaching, the course is extremely well designed. I have done many language courses over the years and this has definitely been one of the best. The materials and resources are fantastic – plentiful, accessible, engaging and tailored to all levels. My daughter and I have spent hours playing with the flash cards to learn vocabulary and listening to the songs and short clips. The teaching during the sessions is the perfect balance of encouraging and supportive while also challenging and directed. It is one of the few occasions where I have not found the online classroom difficult to engage in and left every class feeling invigorated and inspired. The course is also superbly well designed with adult learners in mind as it really gives you an insight into the logic of the language. Having that foundation has made me feel much more confident in my ability to continue to improve even after the course finished.  

Basically I cannot recommend the course highly enough and I am still really sad that I have finished it – looking forward to the next level!  

—Dr Kiran Grewal, Reader in Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London
Foundations, May 2022  

  I had always wanted to learn Tamil but found it daunting. This course was the first one I took, and I was surprised by how much I was able to pick up in three months! I particularly loved how well the Tamil grammar and script was systematically introduced to us, giving us a solid foundation for reading and conversing in Tamil. The teachers are very friendly and helpful, and the course has given me the motivation and courage to continue learning! I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in learning Tamil.  

—Nirmali Sivapragasam, Senior Research Associate (Health Economics)
Foundations, May 2022  
I have been interested in learning Tamil for a long time, but never really got around to it. However, when I found myself in a predominantly Tamil-speaking area due to work obligations, it was time to rekindle my interest. I must confess that when first going through the course content, as a beginner, I felt intimidated by the sheer amount of content the course aimed to cover. But having gone through the course, I must say that my fears have been laid to rest!  

Amita, Arasi and the rest of the instructors were incredibly patient and helpful during the whole course, always available to answer queries at any time, or to help catch up on missed classes. The course content is so well organized and I’m sure a lot of thought and time has gone into the whole process. All in all, it was a very professional and warm environment to learn a new language. I would gladly recommend this class to anyone with an interest in learning Tamil.  

—Uditha Dassanayake, Consultant Gastroenterologist
Foundations, May 2022

  I always wanted to learn Tamil: I grew up with a mixed-race background speaking English and Sinhala, learnt German for Uni. But was never able to find the right course and the time for in person classes. Then came the age of Pandemics and Zoom. I accidentally discovered this zoom based course and naively enrolled and was hooked for the entire duration.  

As a father of two teenagers, finding time was not easy: you will need lots of time to pick up vocabulary, grammar and writing practice. Help is always available in and out of classes. One great thing about this course is the website, another is the teachers (in my case, Sushmitha and Shruthi). Both will keep you occupied for three months and make you want to know more about Tamil language and culture.  

— Suresh P. Benjamin PhD, Research Professor, National Institute of Fundamental Studies
Foundations, January 2022

  I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn to read, write, and speak Tamil. It is comprehensive and covers all aspects of the language, with classroom instruction supported by a lot of exercises and homework. The classes are small, ensuring individual attention. You will learn to read and write in no time, but speaking is harder if you don’t put in the time to pick up vocabulary. The instructors are always available for advice and assistance, which I found very helpful.  

Do all the exercises available online if you’re able to and take the quizzes, they are very helpful. Halfway through the course I was no longer able to do the homework and class prep on time due to work-related developments and I fell behind and deeply regretted it, so I actually intend to take the course once more! But I learned to read and write, which I am very thankful for. It is tough, it takes time and commitment, but it is 100% worth it if you’re serious about learning the language.  

— Marianne David, Deputy Editor The Sunday Morning
Foundations, January 2022
The class provides a solid foundation to the Tamil language. I found that it’s an intense four months of learning but it is a great hybrid of self guided learning and interactive sessions with very engaged instructors. Questions are encouraged, a ton of additional resources are available online and there’s equal focus on both written and spoken Tamil. It’s a very effective way to be introduced to the Tamil language and a fantastic foundation to further learning.  

— Manori Wijesekera, Journalist
Foundations, January 2022
I have always wanted to learn Tamil since I am of mixed parentage. Since I studied in the Sinhala medium, I had no formal education in the language. I was delighted to enroll in this online course, which was very well conducted over a short period of 3 months. This well-structured course, and the assignments, helped me improve and learn the language quickly, which was a very satisfying experience for me. Each week I would eagerly prepare and look forward to the class with much anticipation.  

Amita, Sushmitha and Shruthi are amazing teachers and have great dedication. They are committed to inculcating in their students a love for learning the Tamil language. I would highly recommend this course to those who are genuinely interested in learning Tamil as it provides a strong foundation and kindles a passion for continued learning.  

— Sharmini Sinniah, Retired Outreach Coordinator of the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy
Foundations, September 2021  
I always wanted to learn Tamil since it was a national language and I thought it was shameful that I couldn’t speak it. Sadly since we were not given the chance to study it during our school days I never got around to learning in a formal way due to lack of time and opportunity. When I came across this program quite randomly while going through a friend’s social media posts I was delighted to be part of it. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect from an online program and was a little skeptical if I could actually pick up the language from this.  

I must say I was delighted with how it turned out. This program didn’t just teach a few words and a few basic sentences. It teaches the entire construct of the language and as a result even after the course ends you can continue understanding sentences even if you don’t know the words. The level of analysis and careful planning that has gone into analyzing the sentence construction process is truly amazing.  

In addition to teaching the language, the instructors take great efforts to showcase the Tamil culture and the pride of place the language takes in that culture. This I think is very important because suddenly many things become clearer and can be seen in context. I think this is very very important from a nation-building point of view as well and would go a long way in creating an environment of understanding and acceptance. Frankly, to me, this is the most important aspect of the course. 

I was also very impressed with the website and its contents which can be used even after we finish the course. It has tons of resources that will continue to be of use. Being much older than the rest of the class I struggled with finding time to do the homework as well as retention of what was done during class. However, the instructors Amita, Sushmitha, and Shruthi were very patient with me and took extra effort to get me back on track whenever I fell behind. I strongly recommend this program for anyone wishing to learn Tamil.  

— Ajith Fernando, Group CEO of Capital Alliance Limited
Foundations, September 2021  
Amita and Elijah are incredibly supportive instructors, both of whom go above and beyond to meet each student’s needs. The class provides students with a strong foundation in speaking and reading Tamil, and the tools to develop their Tamil acquisition beyond the class. I especially appreciated the structure the course provides, as I was able to easily prepare for and transition into my Intermediate Tamil course at graduate school. For anyone looking to learn Tamil as a beginner (or even those who are familiar with a few concepts, but would like to work on their grammar comprehension), I cannot recommend this course highly enough!  

— Ifadha Sifar, History PhD Student, Columbia University
Foundations, May 2021  
I was born in the UK and me and my siblings grew up speaking English and very broken Tamil. I went to Tamil School as a kid but didn’t progress beyond just recognising the letters, and struggled to communicate with family and in Sri Lanka on holiday. I thought I was too old to learn much but the course saw me making rapid progress in a few weeks for the first time in my life, which has been very moving. You quickly begin to recognise words and sounds and the class maintains a fantastic balance between written Tamil, vocab and cleverly explained grammar, so you finally understand and formulate sentences. With class practice, class prep and homework, including fun flashcard games and film recommendations, you consolidate your learning rapidly. It’s the best Tamil class I’ve ever witnessed or attended – and I have been to many!  

— Cynthia Shanmugalingam, cook and author of “Rambutan”
Foundations, May 2021  
I have tried to learn Tamil, using various resources, for many years now and this course was the first time I felt myself making notable progress. The course was very well structured and the resources were excellent – helping me build on what I had learnt every week. The class covered a lot of ground in a short period of time. Amita and Elijah were patient and they answered all our questions. They also made sure to make the content relatable and the classes lively so as to help us remember what we learnt and keep our attention. I would highly recommend the class to anyone who wants to learn Tamil.  

— Shiloh Sumanthiran, Consultant UNICEF Social Policy
Foundations, September 2020  

  I am now able to read the Tamil script, conjugate verbs and construct sentences. In addition to learning a substantial amount of grammar, my vocabulary is constantly growing, as is my ability and confidence to speak in Tamil. Amita and Elijah have been incredibly helpful and encouraging as teachers, offering me additional support outside our lessons when I required it. It is not just their knowledge of the Tamil language that is inspiring, but their ability to teach and communicate to beginners with care and diligence that I particularly appreciate.  

— Shamara Wettimuny, History DPhil candidate, Oxford University
Foundations, September 2020
When I joined this class, I lacked a solid grammatical foundation to be able to correctly form sentences across the different tenses etc. The classes are designed to take you through this process in a systematic fashion, and I found my language ability improving each week. Each lesson’s grammar component was followed by very practical exercises which applied that learning. The exercises gave the language a ‘life’, so we were able to recall vocabulary from many weeks before because of the context in which we learnt the words.  

I particularly appreciate Amita and Elijah’s gentle and patient teaching style. They will let you struggle in that awkwardness of trying to translate something on your own, which then forces you to draw on everything you already know. As a result, the learning process is much faster. Overall, I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of this class, and I strongly recommend that you invite a friend and join!  

— Sanjit Dias, Attorney-at-law
Foundations, September 2020