Notes: Student of Spanish and Linguistics
My name is Erin Duffy and I am a student, teacher, intern, and lover of languages.
I am studying Spanish and Linguistics at the University of Glasgow.
I am currently in Andalusia working as an English teacher whilst improving my Spanish language skills.
I also work remotely as an intern at Radiolingua, an online languages company which offers podcasts and online learning material in several languages. I work mainly on our Chinese resources, including social media, blogs, and lesson notes.
What languages have you learned?
I took part in a year-long scholarship with the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools studying Chinese language in Tianjin, China. I now speak, read, and write Chinese confidently and continue to study it in my spare time.
Additionally, I study Spanish, a language which I have loved since early on in my school career. I am now in Spain speaking Spanish almost every waking hour and I am falling more in love with it every day.
I studied Russian as a minor last year and the next two languages I’d love to learn are Danish and Korean.
How have any language skills helped you in your work or personal life?
My language skills have been indispensable in acquiring recent job opportunities.
I worked last summer in the British Embassy in Beijing as a Visa Writer. Without my knowledge of Chinese language and culture I would not have obtained this unique opportunity.
This summer I interned with the English for Academic Study unit at my University. I organised social events and trips around Scotland for foreign students completing a pre-sessional course. As the majority of students were Chinese, I used my skills on a daily basis to overcome cultural barriers and translation difficulties.
Working with Radiolingua, I have learned so much about teaching and studying languages in unique new ways. This experience has given me an idea of the interesting places a career in languages can take you.
Personally, I have Chinese and Spanish to thank for some of my closest friendships, friendships which would never have been possible without these languages. Learning languages can open up links for you all around the world.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering learning a language?
My advice is to talk immediately if you can. Words mean nothing when you have no-one to say them to. Talking is your motivation.
Any tips on how best to approach communicating in a language you have little knowledge of?
Don’t aim for perfection. Perfection comes with years of practice and for language learners, is often never obtained. Try your best and don’t be embarrassed. Besides, it’s more embarrassing to say nothing at all!
In your experience, would you say cultural awareness is important?
As we become a more global society, cultural awareness is a necessity in workplaces all around the world. Furthermore, for me, becoming more culturally aware has been a huge part of my development as a young person.
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