Client Case Studies
”My rather ambitious goal was to be able to speak, read, and write Italian and Lia has helped me work towards that.”A Passion for Italian
Language Trainers: Good morning Luvaghn, how are you?
Luvaghn Brown: I’m well, thanks.
Language Trainers: Good to hear. Thanks for taking the time to chat. So, tell us, which language did you study with Language Trainers, and which level were you when you began your course?
Luvaghn Brown: I began studying Italian about three months ago, after being referred to Language Trainers by a friend. I wouldn’t say I was a beginner, as prior to that I knew basic words and phrases, but Lia, my trainer, helped bring it all together.
Language Trainers: Why Italian? What was your reason and what were your goals?
Luvaghn Brown: I’ve traveled to Italy a few times and plan on going back in the future. It’s beautiful there. I love the people and the food. While many speak English in the larger cities, the next time I go I want to be able to speak with people in the small towns we visit. Also, I have friends who are Italian and who speak Italian, and I want to converse with them in their native language.
Language Trainers: How have the classes been going, then?
Luvaghn Brown: They’re going well. My rather ambitious goal was to be able to speak, read, and write Italian and Lia has helped me work towards that. I renewed my classes with her because she was such a great teacher. She uses different materials during lessons: movie clips, slide shows, poems, history and entertaining sayings I translate.
Language Trainers: You said you have friends who speak Italian. Have they commented on your progress? Do you now speak Italian with them?
Luvaghn Brown: Yes, while my speaking ability is still a bit limited, we converse in Italian and they, like Lia, are very supportive and have noted my progress.
Language Trainers: What would you say was the best part of your Language Trainers course?
Luvaghn Brown: Lia, my instructor. It’s tough to put in a nutshell just one reason why she’s been so helpful and motivating. There’s a lot. One of the things I most like is that she keeps me interested by varying the lessons so that I learn about the people and the country as I tackle difficult aspects of the language; like verbs! Her lesson plans include different cultural aspects of Italy. She makes it so much more than just about seeing Italian words on a piece of paper.
Language Trainers: That’s great to hear you and your friend had such a good experience with us. Would you, in turn, recommend Language Trainers?
Luvaghn Brown: Yes, I would recommend Language Trainers and Lia to anyone interested in learning Italian.
Language Trainers: You’ve mentioned your interest in a lot of the different materials Lia uses during your lessons. Before concluding, tell us, is there anything you’ve read — a certain cultural aspect you’ve studied or interesting text—that really sticks in your memory?
Luvaghn Brown: There were several; a poem and slide show about the central square in Bologna, the difference between how Italians use their fingers when counting, a beautiful piece, Il vero anonimo mago, about a UNICEF worker, and a very informative piece about the history of Rome, Roma: un museo all’aperto!
”I have already recommended Language Trainers to at least ten people since doing the program.”Learning French for his Family
Language Trainers: Good morning, James. How are you?
James Wolf: I’m good, thanks.
Language Trainers: Would you mind telling us a little about yourself?
James Wolf: Yes, well my name is James, and I'm a 28 year old US Army Officer in the California National Guard and a Web Producer for Cal State University.
Language Trainers: And when did you start studying with Language Trainers?
James Wolf: I started In June 2011.
Language Trainers: James, which language did you study and why?
James Wolf: I studied French. My wife is from France, and her family —my in-laws—do not speak any English. I wanted to learn some basic French in order to be able to communicate with them.
Language Trainers: So why did you choose Language Trainers to begin studying French?
James Wolf: I had used a few self learning programs out there like Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur, but I just was not learning as fast as I wanted to. When I heard about Language Trainers and how they recruited tutors from actual educational institutions I figured it was worth a try.
Language Trainers: Was Language Trainers worth the try?
James Wolf: Yes! I studied with the tutor three times a week for 2 months and learned enough in that time to hold short conversations with my in-laws in their native tongue. I was really surprised how fast I was able to start applying the language. I was extremely pleased by the results of the program.
Language Trainers: That’s great to hear! What was the most helpful part of the course to you?
James Wolf: The teacher was amazing! She tailored each lesson based off my needs and focused specifically on topics that I would need. And she adjusted to my unique learning style, as well. I'm a kinetic and auditory learner so we did muscle memory and listening exercises over flash cards.
Language Trainers: Would you recommend Language Trainers?
James Wolf: Absolutely! I already have to at least ten people since doing the program.
Language Trainers: And on a final note, what's been the most rewarding experience to come from your Language Trainers experience?
James Wolf: I traveled to France a week after my two months of tutoring and was able to hold conversations with my in-laws. They were very impressed, as they knew I spoke no French at all prior to that trip.
”Yes, the program has been extremely helpful. My teacher was the most helpful and useful.”Rediscovering the Spanish Language
Language Trainers: Good afternoon, Bob. How are you doing?
Bob Busch: Good afternoon. I’m good, thanks.
Language Trainers: Would you mind telling us a bit about yourself?
Bob Busch: My name is Bob, I am 50 years old, and work as a CPA. I began studying Spanish with Language Trainers in November of 2013.
Language Trainers: And why did you begin studying Spanish? What were your reasons and goals?
Bob Busch: Ten years ago, I was living in Guatemala. I became conversationally proficient, but after I left I did not keep practicing. Although I should have. In Tampa we have several stations that broadcast the same shows —including news programs—in both English and Spanish. I began because I wanted to be conversationally fluent again.
Language Trainers: So, why did you choose Language Trainers?
Bob Busch: My employer found the company and picked my program for me.
Language Trainers: And did you find Language Trainers helpful?
Bob Busch: Yes, the program has been extremely helpful.
Language Trainers: What was the most helpful part about the course?
Bob Busch: My teacher has been the most helpful and useful. My challenge isn’t vocabulary, it’s conversational: I can hear a word that I know, but still not recognize it immediately. My teacher helps me overcome this.
Language Trainers: Do you think you would recommend Language Trainers?
Bob Busch: Yes. Yes, I would recommend Language Trainers!
Language Trainers: And on a final note, what’s your favorite new expression in Spanish?
Bob Busch: Well, I’d be better off not to say. It’s a funny expression, but after translating it literally to English, I might get slapped!
”We wanted to come to Peru with the confidence we could have small conversations with the people here. We knew that not only would it be helpful, but it would also enhance our experience and make us get more out of the trip.”Spanish for an Amazon Adventure
Tarran Kent-Hume and Olie Hunter Smart are two adrenaline-seeking adventurers who have dared to take on the western hemisphere’s longest and largest river, the Amazon. For five months, the two will be kayaking the 6,500 kilometer course of this gigantic, unpredictable river. While planning the adventure, the two enrolled in a 10-session online class with Language Trainers to learn Spanish before heading to South America. We caught up with them to chat about their trip and their experience with our online Spanish course.
LT: Good afternoon guys, how are you?
Olie Hunter Smart: Hi, we’re good, thanks! We’re currently in Lima, the first stop on our trip, and just finished a Google Hangout with a bunch of kids to talk to them about traveling and our adventure.
Tarran Kent-Hume: We’ll be here until Sunday or Monday and then we’ll be packing up and beginning the first part of our adventure at the Mantaro River here in Peru.
LT: Wow, I can imagine you’re excited about your upcoming kayak adventure down the Amazon! I know you’re probably busy with preparations so thanks for taking the time to chat. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and the adventure? We’ve been reading about your project and we’d love to hear more.
Tarran Kent-Hume: After six years as an investment banking headhunter, I knew I needed to make a change. I just turned 30 a couple weeks ago, and I wanted to do something big. I’m an adventurer: I practice Muay Thai fighting, I’ve climbed Mont Blanc, and now it’s onto conquering the Amazon. While I was in Thailand, I became fascinated by the rivers there and since I’d never been to South America, I figured the Amazon was the perfect next stop.
Olie Hunter Smart: When I was 18, I went to the Belizean jungle and it blew my mind. The scale of the trees and the peacefulness of it all really captivated me. I have been working in advertising in London for the past 10 years and wasn’t liking it. I thought there must be more than sitting behind a desk. Then I went traveling through Russia and South America with my girlfriend – it was incredible! When I got back, however, I went straight back into the world of advertising and got into the internal politics again, ending up right back where I was. I thought, “Nope! Can’t do this!” I needed to escape and live my life properly. I went camping with a guy who knew Tarran was going to be kayaking the Amazon and two weeks later, I met him and we began planning this trip together.
LT: So that’s why you began studying Spanish, right? To prepare for this trip?
Tarran Kent-Hume: Yes, we wanted to come to Peru with the confidence we could have small conversations with the people here. We knew that not only would it be helpful, but it would also enhance our experience and make us get more out of the trip. Also, if you speak someone’s language, they’re a lot more likely to help you out.
LT: What was your Spanish level beforehand?
Tarran Kent-Hume: I didn’t know much Spanish at all.
Olie Hunter Smart: Since I had traveled around South America before, I knew some and could understand when people talked. But it was frustrating because I didn’t know how to respond – I couldn’t put sentences together.
LT: And now that you’ve finished the course, how has your Spanish improved?
Tarran Kent-Hume: The classes helped massively. Plus we received homework outside the course which helped us process what we learned. We would write in Spanish and put thought into what we were writing, how to structure sentences and what we wanted to say. I know how to order food, ask for directions, and have short conversations with people – before I couldn’t do that!
Olie Hunter Smart: Right, and I liked that the class was more about conversing than specific vocabulary words. That really helped me get better.
LT: That’s great to hear. Have you been putting your new language skills to use?
Tarran Kent-Hume: Yes, in the past few days we’ve really been immersed. I listen to what people are saying and can pull out words I recognize, and piece together a response.
Olie Hunter Smart: Our knowledge of Spanish has already helped us out a lot here in Lima but it’s going to prove invaluable in the more rural parts where no one speaks English.
LT: What was your favorite part about your classes with us?
Tarran Kent-Hume: I liked that we could take the class together and online. After the class ended each time, I’d call Olie and we’d review our notes, converse in Spanish to practice, and talk about the homework.
Olie Hunter Smart: And our teacher was great. She knew why we wanted to learn Spanish and helped us make a list of keywords and phrases to know. For example, we know how to say “Please don’t shoot!” if we need to use it.
LT: Would you recommend Language Trainers in the future?
Olie Hunter Smart: Yeah, I would. We learned a lot in the short time we had. It has given me the confidence to talk a bit more and not rely on other people while I’m traveling.
Tarran Kent-Hume: Definitely – I already have recommended Language Trainers!
LT: One last question – do you have a favorite word or expression that you learned in Spanish?
Tarran Kent-Hume: “Vivir” – to live. It’s so beautiful and it has to be my favorite Spanish word.
Olie Hunter Smart: “Mañana” – tomorrow, why? Because everything that happens here happens mañana.
Took French Courses in Boston
Took English Courses in Raleigh
Took Spanish Courses in Las Vegas
”My teacher is great. He is punctual, focused on the lesson and personable. I am looking forward to learning a lot from him.”Italian course in Philadelphia
Teacher Case Studies
Language Taught: Bulgarian
Years of teaching experience: 26
What language do you teach, and why did you choose teaching as your career?
Well I began teaching at Sofia University immediately after I received my MA in Bulgarian studies. My major is literature, and I began focusing on language relatively recently in 2007. In that year, I became a Bulgarian instructor at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. I realized then that through language, I could do more for my culture. Being a Fulbrighter myself, I started teaching Bulgarian literature and culture to American Fellows at the Fulbright International Summer Institute in Bulgaria. For two years now, I teach also at the Bulgarian School in New York, HristoBotey. I actually came to New York with a perhaps too ambitious project to launch the first Bulgarian academic unit in the city and the Tristate area. This is to account for my visions and intentions –as I haven’t yet given up on this idea.
Where did you study, how long have you been teaching, and what age group do you usually teach?
My BA, two MAs (Bulgarian Studies; Cultural Studies) and my PhD (in Literary Theory) I got from Sofia University. I specialize in teaching BA, MA and PhD students but lately I’ve been teaching Bulgarian to children between 5 and 12 year old and also to people between 30 and 70 year old. The approaches are different, but the language is the same, so the challenges are not that unique. Kids learn faster, but men and women value the magic of learning a language more.
What do you look for in a student?
Curiosity; curiosity towards the “mystical” ability of every language to project a world that is not entirely the same. Bulgarian aspects of the verb, for example, always open a new horizon –it’s like an alternative reality, our system of tenses and moods. Diligence and seriousness unhampered by a sense of humor and lightness in approaching language’s strangeness are also important qualities. The most important moment is the “click,” this readiness to collaborate and interact with the teacher.
What should students expect in you as a teacher?
I believe that teaching a new language is an integral process that involves not only repetition, learning by heart, exercising, practicing, creating situations for students to identify/perform, etc. but also to get into language’s character, mentality, and worldview –to get to know the people who speak this language.
What is your favorite aspect of working with Language Trainers?
With Language Trainers, students are monitored and taken care of every step of the way. Not only are they meticulous to the very last detail, but they allow students to be involved in their own learning process every step of the way.
Do you have a favorite teaching experience?
My favorite teaching experience is the moment when I feel that the student has come to the point of entering the language. This is the moment when I discover that the student has already created intuitions, sense, and sensibility about their new language.