The Land of Tulips & Wooden Shoes & Tall People: Alexandra in Amsterdam

A University of Michigan student shares her experiences in Amsterdam. Is there anyone else still traveling before the school year starts?

CGIS UMICH

Well here’s where I talk about Amsterdam. I’m from West Michigan where most of my friends are from Dutch ancestry. Here’s a little secret about Europeans while we’re on the topic: they hate when Americans say they’re “½ Dutch and ½ English”. We’re Americans, and if we’re white, that’s what our parents were and that’s where we’re from, and our connections to Europe are not notable to them. Just a warning.

Anyways, I thought I knew a few things about the Netherlands. Well, I had a lot to learn. Like, there are way less tulips than I imagined. And way more canals. Oh man are the canals beautiful. I also learned that the Red Light District has such a solid history that very rarely do churches or anyone else besides foreign business men interfere with its business. I learned that most prostitutes in that area choose to be there, want…

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About the Language Bank!

Here’s a great new blog to follow: the Language Bank! Check them out!

LRC Language Bank

Hi Everyone!

We are the Language Bank and we’re excited to engage with you all over this year and the many to come. We are a resource within the Language Resource Center that has partnered up with local community organizations and nonprofits to assist in their translation needs and requests. These translation requests come from a range clients, from local nonprofits that provide services such as food pantries to families hoping to get documents translated for their adoptive children.

The basics are pretty straightforward. People submit their translation requests to us, specifying from which to which language they would like their translation. We at the Language Bank will run through our database for volunteers who match these criteria. We then connect volunteers to our clients so that they can communicate—easy!

We have requests coming for both interpreting and translating. When I first started working at the Language Bank, I didn’t…

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Spanish and American Girl (or How My Spanish Obsession Began)

What a great kick start for language learning! What was your motivation to start a new language?

Mission:Incomplete

It’s no secret that I’ve always loved to read.  You don’t have to know me for very long before my love of books comes out. What isn’t as obvious is how many of my other passions stem from books — almost all of them, actually.
Spanish was the among the first.  When I was a girl, I devoured historical fiction — think The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963, Johnny Tremain, and the Dear America series.  My absolute favorites, though, were the American Girl historical characters.
Oh, those books.  The entire American Girl company, in fact, is in my mind synonymous with my eighth through twelfth years.  I waited breathlessly for the glossy catalogs that came every three months full of shiny, beautiful dolls.  I tore through the magazine, which was a smorgasbord of short stories, recipes, and tips on everything from friends to hairstyles. But mostly I loved the books.
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There…

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Exercise Your Brain by Learning a Language

bria varner

I would like to emphasize that ANYONE at ANY AGE can learn a new language. It’s a great workout for your brain! And it helps stave off dementia. Other benefits include: having a better understanding of another culture, a better understanding of your mother tongue and own culture, opening your world to new friends, an additional skill to add to your resumé which can lead to more money in your pocket.

My original reason for learning Spanish was that having a Hispanic background, I wanted to better understand “my” past and to be able to tell the Spanish speaking telemarketers to remove our number from their calling list.

What’s holding you back? Why would you want to learn a new language?

Have I sold you yet? Want some guidance in getting started on your language learning journey? Try here: Fluent in 3 Months. That’s the blog and language learning…

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Starting a new language? Use it from day one!

Don’t be afraid to sound silly! Trying to speak a language is one of the most important hurdles to overcome!

Lost for Words

Fear is the main point that slows down the early stages of language learning for many a learner; a fear of actually using the language…

Lets talk about getting over this fear, and turning it into amazing progress! The secret? Speak from day one. It takes a little preparation, and isn’t easy, but overcoming that early fear will pay dividends in even a pretty short time.

When we start a language, most will be dreaming of confidently chatting with native speakers, weaving beautiful sentences with ease, without stopping to think in our first language. Yet despite the usual (and completely understandable!) main goal of using the language, nearly everyone tends to spend a good while flicking through a textbook instead.

That drag through the textbook  also tends to go on a bit longer than originally intended. Why? People are generally concerned of ‘reaching a certain level’ before they can talk.

Nope…

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