Three people who found the key to going anywhere.
I chatted with Andy Steenberge (creative director), Dokia McEwan (high school Spanish teacher), and Dylan Baker (exchange student) about why learning more than one language is something everyone should do. Their stories reminded me of my study abroad trip in Mexico and that language is the key to connections and opportunity.
Andy originally wanted to follow the military route but later ended up pursuing an artistic career. He’s a tattoo guy, loves his family, and is now the creative director at Rosetta Stone, a major player in the language-learning world. His goal is to awaken the excitement of learning a new language and literacy world-wide, connecting us with the personal side of language and how we approach mastering it. If you’re familiar with their old, CD-style model, they have a completely new look and method today, and we’ll hear how that came to be.
Take a look back in time, and you’ll see Andy starting out as a janitor at a rock climbing gym, waiting to find his big break. He’s refreshingly humble, and I loved his story.
Dokia is a Spanish teacher at an independent school where she has the flexibility to teach outside the box, incorporating podcasts, current events, and other media into her curriculum. She spills the secret to motivating students to learn more than one language, even when it’s an annoying graduation requirement. “Your learning is something no one can take away from you,” she shared.
She attributes part of her success to being herself both in and out of the classroom. “If I have a student who plays a lot of video games, I can explain a concept in those terms… I try to connect with students on their level.” She’s a rock climbing, video game playing, LEGO wedding cake having daughter of an organic farmer transplanted to Ohio, and I’m pretty sure she’s the coolest Spanish teacher out there.
Dylan took a risk and is spending a year in Germany, leaving family and friends in South Africa for the adventure of a lifetime. Setting out, he was afraid that he might not be able to make it the full year as this was the biggest thing he had ever done. With everyone back home knowing that he was going on exchange, and it would be hard to save face if he folded.
He’s the youngest person I’ve interviewed for Career Day thus far, but his realizations about cultures, language, himself, and even life are shockingly profound. Hear Dylan share his mature perspective on friendship, loneliness, appreciating family, and learning a new language.
Special thanks to Andy Steenberge, Dokia McEwan, and Dylan Baker for sharing their stories with the world.
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