Imagine being fluent in another language and being inspired to take on another just by watching a TV show. That’s what happened with Iye. Read on to find out how she mastered Spanish, what show made her want to learn Norwegian and her tips for becoming fluent in any language.

BGLL: Tell us about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?

IYE: My name is Iye Bako, I’m from Columbus, Ohio, I am Nigerian, and English is my native language.  I have a Bachelor of Arts in Iberian Spanish Literature with a minor in International Business and Fashion Design & Merchandising from The Ohio State University. I’m an Executive Office Analyst for escalated mortgage inquires, which involves researching and potential resolving bank errors that are a risk to the company. I’m an aspiring actress, currently taking acting classes and auditioning for commercials and films. I also have a side business as a Social Media Marketer. I teach entrepreneurs how to use social media to increase their followers and sales.  

BGLL: Which languages do you speak?

IYE: I'm fluent in Spanish. Currently, I teach Spanish classes at my job as part of a Business Resource Group to help my peers learn additional skills for their work. I used to work in a bilingual call center. I do still speak to customers over the phone in Spanish as an Executive Office Analyst. I’m also currently learning Norwegian.

BGLL: How did you get started with Spanish? What made you want to start learning Norwegian?

IYE: I got started in Spanish because I love Latin music and culture and I wanted to make the connection with Spanish speakers since Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in the U.S. outside of English and I knew it would be useful for business and leisure. I started studying Spanish as part of my major and studied abroad at the Tecnol√≥gico de Monterrey in Mexico for one semester. Additionally, I created my own immersion environment at home listening to music, watching Spanish TV shows, and connecting with native speakers through online language exchange groups. Creating an immersion environment is my method for learning all languages.

I got into Norwegian for fun because I’ve always desired to be a polyglot. I was inspired by a popular TV show in Norway called Skam. It was initially popular for teenagers then it spread worldwide to audiences of all ages because of the great acting, storylines, and characters. Right now, I’m focused on using Duolingo, but it’s not a standalone resource. So, I watch YouTube heavily especially Norwegian teacher channels. I also listen to Norwegian podcasts, watch Skam, and I’m starting a journal to practice writing. I also plan to travel to Norway one day for vacation. I love connecting with people of different cultures, so I expect to make Norwegian friends online even before I visit Norway.

BGLL: Which language is your favorite and why?

IYE: Definitely Spanish! I’ve made so many Spanish speaking friends and I’ve traveled to Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. I love the culture, the people, the food, and the scenery of each of the places I’ve been. I have so many more Spanish speaking countries on my list.

BGLL: What three tips can you offer those who are trying to learn another language?
IYE: Find some type of content in your target language that you’re passionate about and binge it. Whether it’s music, tv, or books. Repetition helps. The more obsessed you are about diving into something that you enjoy, the higher the chances that you’ll stick with it. Make friends!! Don’t be shy. Even if you can’t speak at first, ask them to help you with your pronunciation, teach you some words, or correct your written practice. It can’t hurt. Get immersed in the culture. Make the food. Practice some of their traditions. When you feel that personal connection you’ll be more motivated. Trust and believe!  

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

IYE: My website for my Social Media Marketing business is www.iyebako.com and my Instagram is @iyebako. To follow my Norwegian learning journey, my Instagram is @iye.learns.norsk.

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