Category Archives: Language-learning interviews

World of Work: Teddy Nee

Knowing a second language can help you move on in your current job, find new career opportunities or further your studies. In our ‘World of Work’ series, we speak to people who use foreign languages every day.

Let’s meet Teddy Nee from Indonesia

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Hi Teddy! Thanks for talking to busuu. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi busuu! I was born and grew up in Medan, Indonesia’s third largest city. In 2008, I moved to Taiwan, where I live and attend university as a student on an International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) programme.

Why are languages necessary for your studies?

The IMBA is a programme taught in English for students from around the world, so it’s essential to know this language to be able to follow the lessons. In addition, we use English to socialise because we come from different countries and speak different languages. English is our lingua franca.

Could you tell us about the languages you speak and how you learnt them?

My native languages are Fujianese (a Chinese dialect) and Indonesian.

I also speak English and Mandarin, both of which I learned for many years at school. English was mandatory throughout, while Mandarin became mandatory in the third year of senior high school. Before that, I was taught Mandarin on a private course.

In addition, I have been learning Spanish since 2012 and Esperanto since May 2013.

Which language have you found most challenging to learn?

I would say Mandarin is the most difficult because it doesn’t use the Latin alphabet, unlike Indonesian, English and Esperanto. Fujianese doesn’t have a writing system; it’s a spoken language only. However, it is often written using Chinese characters in China and Taiwan.

And which language was the easiest for you?

Esperanto is the easiest language that I have learned. It is a constructed language that has been designed for people to quickly master it. Its grammar is very simple; for example, there are no irregular words. Esperanto shares some similarities with Romance languages, such as Spanish and Italian.

In your opinion, what’s the next important language for you to learn?

English is still widely used around the world, so I suppose it will still be the most important language in coming years. In addition, Mandarin is increasingly preferred as complementary to English in the job market, especially in Asia.

Fortunately, I have been learning both languages for a long time and use them every day. However, I still need to improve in some aspects, such as business writing and language.

Which learning materials or methods have helped you most?

The internet is my main source of materials for learning Spanish and Esperanto, and I regularly use both languages in reading, listening and writing.

I also use busuu all the time. I’ve even finished the Spanish course on busuu! Now, I spend most of my time correcting other users’ English and Mandarin exercises.

I love how busuu connects users with native speakers and other members, so that they can learn together, share their experience and motivate each other to achieve better results.

Do you have any tips for anyone who’s learning a language?

Language learning is a lifelong process. Our brain is forgetful, so you always need to use a language, whether for reading, speaking, writing or listening. Be disciplined with your schedule, aim high and commit yourself to learning.

Teddy, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to busuu! If you’re a busuu member, you can visit Teddy’s profile and add him as a friend.

Did you enjoy this post?

What did you think of this article? Let us know in the comments! Or take a look at previous posts in our World of Work series:

Are languages essential in your day-to-day work? Would you like to be considered for a World of Work interview? Then please send an email to pr@busuu.com (subject: ‘World of Work’) with just 2-3 short sentences telling us where you’re from, what you do and which languages you speak. Thanks!

World of Work: Marly de Gomez

Learning a language can help you move on in your career or find new opportunities. In our ‘World of Work’ series, we speak to people who use languages every day in their job. In our first post, we spoke to Daniel, a hotel reception manager from Spain.

Let’s meet Marly de Gomez from Venezuela

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Hi Marly! Thanks for talking to busuu. Could you tell us what you do?

Hi busuu! At the moment, I’m a self-employed clothing, bed and bag designer for small pets. I work to satisfy the needs of both pets and their owners, and it’s a lot of fun.

Why are languages necessary for what you do?

I must often work from patterns in other languages, above all in English and sometimes in German. And in this technology-dominated, globalised world, it’s essential to learn new languages anyway.

Even if this seems like a difficult challenge, we must keep in mind that learning a language is very beneficial. It creates the prospect of a better future, whether finding a new job or communicating with other people.

Our mindset is largely determined by language. If you can talk the same language as the person you’re speaking to, you will be able to better understand how they think, which increases your chances of commercial success.

That’s one of the reason why I love busuu – as well as improving my English language skills, I learn more about English-speaking cultures, too, through the units and talking to native speakers.

Could you tell us about the languages you speak and how you learnt them?

Spanish is my mother tongue and I’m currently learning English with busuu. I’m amazed by the progress that I have made in such a short time with busuu’s online language-learning method.

I can also adapt my learning to my schedule, thanks to the flexibility busuu offers for studying languages, and the direct contact with native speakers is something that would otherwise be impossible here in Venezuela.

Which languages do you think are challenging to learn?

As well as learning to speak English fluently, I would like to learn German too. It has very difficult grammar, but if you know a language’s grammatical structure, everything becomes easier.

And which language do you think is easiest?

I think English is one of the easiest and most important languages to learn. It’s spread throughout the world and is the international language for not just business, but everything!

Which learning materials or methods have helped you most?

There’s no doubt that to correctly learn a language, it’s essential to understand its grammar because it makes comprehension simpler.

As well as books, learning tools such as ‘busuu-Talk‘ and voice recordings are very useful. They both enable me to practise my pronunciation by recording part of a dialogue, so that native English speakers in busuu’s community can correct me.

Marly, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to busuu!

What do you think?

What did you think of this interview? Let us know in the comments!

Are languages essential in your day-to-day work? Would you like to be considered for a World of Work interview? Then please send an email to pr@busuu.com (subject: ‘World of Work’) with just 2-3 short sentences telling us where you’re from, what you do and which languages you speak. Thanks!

World of Work: Daniel Soto

Learning a language has lots of benefits, such as helping you to progress in your career and find new opportunities. So we are starting a series called ‘World of Work’, where we will speak to people who use languages every day.

Let’s meet Daniel Soto from Spain

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Hi Daniel! Thanks for talking to busuu. Could you tell us what you do?

I am the Reception Manager at Hotel Samos in Mallorca. It’s an independent hotel, where I work as part of a small, hands-on team who share responsibilities. I started here as a receptionist in 2002 and was already the department head by 2008.

Why are languages necessary for what you do?

Most of our clients are British, as Mallorca is a popular destination for the UK. We also have many guests from Portugal, Italy, France and Russia, and some from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

Thanks to the internet, we now have clients from all over the world and who book rooms directly. English is absolutely essential, from talking to travel agencies to dealing with the people staying here.

Could you tell us about the languages you speak and how you learnt them?

My mother tongue is Spanish and I studied English in school and at university, as well as using it every day at work with both clients and suppliers.

I speak fluent Italian, which I have learnt on the job from speaking to clients over 10 years. I also speak intermediate Portuguese – learnt in the same way – and know some German from studying for 2 years at local language classes.

Which language have you found most challenging to learn?

The most difficult has been German because of its grammar, such as the way certain words change their form depending on their role in a sentence. Also, I can’t practise it much at work as we do not have many clients from Germany.

And which language was the easiest for you?

English has always been the simplest and most intuitive for me, being the language of the music I listen to, the early internet and the tourism that I have mainly dealt with.

As a native Spanish speaker, the Italian that I have picked up through my work is also intuitive to me. I guess this is due to the two languages’ similarities in grammar and how they sound.

In your opinion, what’s the next important language for you to learn?

We are in a major tourist destination in Spain and the Russian market is growing quickly. Being able to speak Russian will soon be a big deciding factor in finding work and local classes are already overbooked. In fact, I downloaded busuu’s app for Russian.

Which learning materials or methods have helped you most?

As well as speaking to clients who are native speakers, audio-visual materials have always seemed to me the most natural way to learn a language. It’s the closest to learning in a real environment.

Do you have any tips for anyone who’s learning a language or would like a job like yours?

I would say to anyone who is starting to learn that it’s absolutely worth the initial effort – it becomes much easier in a short time. We were born to communicate with each other, so we have all the tools needed to learn a new language.

In the case of roles like mine, English is essential. It’s the language of business, communication and the internet. Any extra language is a plus – it’s another skill on your CV and will make you stand out in job interviews.

Daniel, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to busuu!

What did you think of this interview? Do you do a similar job to Daniel? Are there other occupations you would like us to consider for future posts? Let us know in the comments!