When I first connected with Clara online, she didn’t really speak much German. She could say some words but I could see she had a strong desire to learn and was determined. Now, she is almost native level.

The reason why Clara’s story is so important is because, like many of us, she is a busy professional. She is a nurse who resides between two countries, is pursuing a master’s degree program run by two universities while completing an internship AND is considering a PhD program thereafter. Here’s a look at how she finds time to pursue foreign language studies.
BGLL: Hey Clara, thanks for taking some time out of your schedule and allowing me to feature you on my site. 

Clara: No, thank you for featuring me on your blog and allowing me to share my passion for languages. I really am happy that there is a space online celebrating and promoting language learning in the black community, thank you for your work!

BGLL: Tell us a little more about yourself.

Clara: My name is Clara, I am British-Nigerian. I currently live between Brussels and Vienna, but starting in November, I’ll be living between Prague and Vienna. I am a nurse and I have a Bachelor’s from King’s College London. I am a second year Master’s student of Public Health at the University of Vienna/Medical University of Vienna (the programme is run jointly by both universities and the degree will be awarded by both too). I am hoping to do my PhD afterwards. My current job title is intern/research assistant and I am doing my 4-month internship at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, working in the International health policy unit, on a health system strengthening research project. I love the job because it is challenging and so different from everything I have done so far. I am learning so much, and it is helping me decide what area I want to focus my PhD on. I also have a blog which has been on hiatus since the last 2 years. It seems my nomadic lifestyle is incompatible with writing regularly and maintaining a blog!

BGLL: Wow, that’s so exciting and ambitious. I’ve also read your blog, you are very well travelled. I especially loved your three-part blog series on your experience in BangladeshHow many languages do you know? Which one is your native language?

Clara: This is always a complicated question for me, because technically my native language is Ondo (which I don’t speak), and Yoruba, the Nigerian language of the city where I grew up. I am fluent in Yoruba and, unlike many Nigerians, can read it too. However, my true first language and the one in which I am most comfortable is English. I also speak French and German, as well as passable Italian. I am learning Spanish and Dutch but still at the very beginning of the process.

BGLL: How did you learn French and German?

Clara: I learnt French for pragmatic reasons. I had a midlife crisis at the grand old age of 27, ran off to Paris and soon discovered that to integrate professionally i.e. work as a nurse, I would need to speak the language. I learnt it mostly by watching everything on TV and hanging out with the children I was working with as an au pair.

German, I learnt for fun and love (for my boyfriend’s mum). Once I met her, I realized that we’d get along very well, and I wanted to be able to have deeper conversations with her. I was living in Brussels at the time, so this was much harder than French, but I learnt by, again, watching TV, having weekly conversation exchanges, going through a grammar book and talking to my MIL on the phone. Well I learnt German on my own within 8 months, passed the TestDaF with a result that gave me access to a Master’s level course and have managed to follow all my classes and pass my exams (so far!). I guess you could say I accomplished something there.

Learning Italian has been a bit haphazard. I do it on and off through Duolingo, grammar books, TV/radio, reading and interacting/communicating with Italian speakers.

Dutch is mostly through Erasmus+ OLS, the language platform provided by the EU for Erasmus participants.

BGLL: Which of your foreign languages are your favorite and why?

Clara: Italian! I just love the way it sounds! It is unfortunately, apart from Dutch/Spanish, still my weakest language.

BGLL: Which tips you can offer to busy professionals and academics who are trying to learn languages?

Clara: First, you must be disciplined. Try to do a little bit every day, even if it’s just 5 minutes of Duolingo. Second, watch TV/listen to the radio, and have regular conversation exchange sessions. You will learn a lot of useful informal expressions this way. Lastly, book yourself in for a language exam as soon as you start learning, it will motivate you! I hate failing and hate wasting money even more, so this was one of my biggest motivations for working hard.

BGLL: How can we keep up with you on social media?

Clara: You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter, I am relatively active on both platforms. IG/Twitter:@ClaraOlu

1 comment:

  1. Although formally a part of} the Elko micropolitan area, Jackpot is usually thought of a part of} the Greater Twin Falls area. Withdrawals are also very simple 카지노 to make, and the pending interval for them is 24 hours, after which the request gets processed. Processing time will depend on the method you're be} utilizing, with the eWallet providers being the quickest.