Notes: Teacher of English in Spain and former cabin crew
My name is Caroline McManus.
I currently live in Barcelona teaching English, but have previously worked as airline cabin crew, travelling the world.
How did you learn your language(s)?
I started learning French when I was 11 years old at primary school but never really had an interest in it. I was more concerned with Spanish which I couldn't start studying until I was 14. I studied Spanish at Standard Grade and Higher level and got the best marks for both. I was supposed to study Hispanic Studies at university but changed to Tourism Management at the last minute. After university, I started working as cabin crew. I was the Spanish speaker on board. I changed company and used to practice Spanish when I was in Spanish speaking countries such as Cuba, Mexico and Dominican Republic. I also did a Spanish course in my free time and tried to do some language exchanges with people from Spain in my free time.
What interests you about learning a language other than English?
I love the feeling of being able to communicate in a language other than my own. I remember listening in awe as a child in Spain while on holiday and always knew I wanted to learn the language. I enjoy speaking Spanish in particular as you can use it in so many countries around the world. I live in Barcelona at the moment and I am astounded at how many languages the natives speak, it really puts British people to shame!
In what way has learning languages benefited you?
Knowing Spanish has definitely helped me gain employment in the past when applying for cabin crew jobs. I work as an English teacher at the moment and one of the requirements of the job was to have a working knowledge of Spanish.
I have been able to set up a life in Spain a lot easier due to the fact I speak the language. Many people only speak Spanish/Catalan so if I didn't speak Spanish, Ikea and Vodafone would have been impossible to tackle! I have made lovely friends from around the world who only speak Spanish. It is amazing how many more doors are opened for you as a speaker of another language.
Do you have any advice or tips on how to improve language learning?
I find reading, listening to music and watching television in Spanish helps. I also think meeting up with a native for a language exchange is invaluable.
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