I’m already addicted to reading, playing basketball and gummi bears, but I can’t stop working on learning new languages. With the world becoming increasingly small due to globalization, the possibility to expand your international horizons is as great as ever. This time last year, I never would have thought that I would be working in Santiago, Chile or London, yet I’ve been in Chile for the past 6 months (with two jobs) and will be moving to London in January to work for a Swiss publishing company. That’s right, a guy from the Dallas will be going to London to work for a Swisscompany. The demand for learning languages is increasing very rapidly.
Besides work, as I travel, I just find it rewarding to be able to communicate with people in their native tongue. I think it shows respect for their culture and opens so many doors, both professionally and socially. A good friend of mine, Naomi (whom I will give a Shout-Out to very soon), told me about LiveMocha, a social network for learning language. They offer courses in just about every language that you can imagine. You submit various assignments, and then the LiveMocha community will give you feedback and tips. Also, you can chat with people, send messages, and all the other good ‘ol web 2.0 stuff you’re used to. From what I see, LiveMocha has a very active community who is eager to offer their help. I’ve completed 4 assignments thus far and within minutes I had feedback from members telling me what I did right and how I can improve. This is an amazing resource for those trying to pick up additional language skills or want to help others. Furthermore, all of the necessary features are FREE. You can pay about $20 for additional features, such as the ability to download your assignments, but for me, it’s not necessary at this time.
For me, being able to get real help from real people is invaluable. Now, you don’t have to move to a country to immerse in the language. Also, a critical aspect for me is that because the community is global, you can learn regional differences in the language, which can be helpful if you ever visit different places that speak the same language. For example, the Spanish in Chile sounds very different from the Spanish in Mexico. Thanks, Naomi, for the heads up!