How This Linguista Teaches English in China
BGLL: Thanks so much Myrna for agreeing to share your story and tips for those who wish to teach English abroad.
Myrna: Thank you for asking to feature me. I'm so honored!
BGLL: So, tell us more about yourself. What languages do you currently speak?
Myrna: My name is Myrna Joseph and I am from NYC. I am Haitian and Dominican. I speak English and understand Haitian-Creole. I have a BA in the Arts from Queens College. Currently working as an ESL teacher in China but hoping to go to other countries.
BGLL: Do you know any other languages?
Myrna: I learned Spanish in school. Started early because I was in advanced classes and finished 6 years of studies by the 11th grade. I was very good with reading and writing but horrible at speaking. Sadly, I lost it [Spanish] due to not practicing, but I want to relearn and possibly move to a Spanish speaking country to force myself to use it more. I’m also currently learning Chinese, since I’m in China.
Meet Brenda, The Curvy Linguista
You ever meet someone and they just have that “je ne sais quoi”? That’s what I thought about Brenda when we first connected on social media. For some reason, when I looked at her pics, I was mesmerized and found her to be gorgeous! I later found out she lives in Europe (my dream!) AND is multilingual. Seemed like a kindred spirit, so I decided I reach out and express my desire to showcase her on the site.
How this busy professional finds time for languages.
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.
How This Nigerian-Greek Yogi Is Healing the World
I’ve heard of showstoppers, gamechangers and other people who have amassed a prestige and a success in unconventional ways. But what about people who changed the world by healing one person at a time? I caught up with Adeola Aderemi, founder of the media collective, Distinguished Diva, to share her language learning experiences and how she touches the lives of others.
BGLL: Tell me about all these wonderful things you are doing to be the change the world needs?
Adeola: I am what people call a multifaceted human being. I created a yoga program for survivors of trauma and worked with refugees and migrant women in Greece. The program is endorsed by Mercy Corps and the UN as a method of healing from trauma. I created Distinguished Diva because I wanted for all women of colour to see themselves in media and tell their own story without it being diluted or policed. I am a storyteller and believe in the power of a person telling their own stories, as a woman of colour who travels and live in predominately white space, I have had my humanity questioned, my stories being erased and my love being questioned. I needed a space where I can share and create fearlessly and that is what I created for all the women who have ever felt the same way.
Some people excel in this world, others completely change the game. That’s what Janice Deul, founder of Diversity Rules, is doing for the fashion world. She’s changing the game by celebrating and advocating for more diversity in fashion. I caught up with the Netherlands-based multilingual lifestyle journalist & fashion activist to learn more about her platform and her linguistic abilities.
Meet Gabrielle, an Afro-Boricua that’s making a difference in the world. She is originally from New York City, but has recently relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. Her native languages are English and Spanish. She also studied French in college and still understands it. She knows some Bengali as a result of the time she spent in West Bengal, India.
This Cum Laude BA recipient uses her English degree to teach English as foreign language, giving her students the tools they need to achieve their professional, academic or personal goals. She also fought for a more diverse work environment at one of her previous employers by speaking up to the founder of the organization
After months of racist microagressions, she finally stood up for herself against her coworkers and informed them that their discriminatory and racist comments were creating hostile work environment.
Oh, to be young, gifted AND black. In the words of Nina Simone, “In the whole world you know, there are a billion boys and girls who are young, gifted and black, and that’s a fact!”.
Nina didn’t lie. Now, while “youth” is relative (I don’t care what anyone says, I’m still YOUNG), there are so many of us who are gifted and black AND killing it. The fact that we aren’t bombarded with these images disturb me. How can we stay motivated, inspired and encouraged, if we don’t see images of ourselves being successful?
This is why I’ve started this Young, Gifted & Black Series, where weekly I will share with you real life she-roes who are young, gifted and black. #BlackGirlMagic at its finest!
Meet Rayna Edwards, a linguist in every sense of the word. She speaks English, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Arabic and intermediate French.
Q: What do you call someone who only speaks one language?
A: An American!
I remember hearing this joke when I was a teenager and thinking, “I’ll show them.” At the time, English was the only language that I knew (it is my native language). Hearing this joke combined with my desire to effectively communicate with my Latino friends, put me on the path to wanting to learn Spanish.
However, having the desire to learn Spanish and actually learning Spanish are two different things. Learning a language can be difficult. Spanish has been on my bucket list for years. I took it in high school. I even made it all the way up to the Honors class level, which is the highest level you can attain in an American high school, but I don’t consider this achievement to be a success. Why? I could barely speak the language!
Read more about her language learning journey here.