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.
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 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.
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 email@example.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!