Hello! My name’s Flora, and I’m Radio Lingua’s Digital Communications and Content Executive. I’ve been working with Radio Lingua since October 2016, when I started as an intern during my final year of university. I studied French and Spanish at the University of Glasgow, and started working full-time for Radio Lingua when I graduated.
What is your role in Coffee Break?
Among other things, I help to create, organise and manage all of the content we produce, whether that be coming up with social media posts, or helping with the creation of new language learning materials. I also play a role in customer support and help with various admin tasks. My job is extremely varied and I learn new things all the time. On any one day, I might be transcribing Spanish interviews for a new podcast, and then replying to tweets from the Coffee Break community. I’ve also been involved in internship recruitment processes, and managing and setting weekly tasks for teams of interns each year.
What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?
I was interested in French from a young age because my family moved to Brussels for 3 years when I was three. Being surrounded by different languages at that age is definitely what led me to pursue them further. I loved my French classes all the way through school and also tried my hand at German for one year. When I left school, I decided to keep studying French at university, and also took up Spanish as a total beginner. As part of my degree, I spent one year studying Translation and Interpreting in Granada, Spain and 4 months working in Montpellier in an English centre, both of which were fantastic opportunities for improving my Spanish and French. I also recently started going to a beginners Italian class, which I’ve really enjoyed because it’s just been for fun.
What are your favourite memories of working with RLN?
I really enjoyed helping with our internship recruitment processes, which involved speaking to students at my old university, presenting at our information sessions and asking questions in the interviews. Kristina and I have worked closely with all of the interns this year, so it’s been nice to see the whole process come ‘full circle’, as we both took part in the internship too. We also launched the Coffee Break Reading Club, which we first started working on as interns, so it’s been great to have been involved in that from start to finish.
Another great memory is the work trip to Spain in September 2017 with Mark and Kristina, which I enjoyed so much that I accidentally referred to it as a ‘holiday’ one evening! We were in Spain to record new content for our En Marcha series, visiting places in the Málaga region and chatting to locals. It was my job to get in contact with potential interviewees via email in Spanish and to create an interview schedule for the week so that we knew who we were seeing each day. I also learned how to record professional video and audio footage, conducted an interview in Spanish with an art expert from the Pompidou Centre in Málaga, and went on a food tour around the city. It was a great week and I’ve since enjoyed coordinating the production of the series and seeing how many people have listened to the podcast and how much they’ve been enjoying it.
Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom?
My ideal coffee break would be a late-afternoon café con leche in one of the cafés at the San Nicolás viewpoint in Granada, overlooking the Alhambra Palace. As for the company, I’d have to choose the actor Miguel Ángel Silvestre, who stars in a few of the Spanish TV series that I’ve watched over the years. If he’s not available that day, though, I’d have to choose my two sisters.
What’s your best language-learning tip?
For me, a huge part of language learning is overcoming the fear of making mistakes. I learned Spanish mainly through speaking it, whereas I learned French from textbooks in a classroom environment. When I started living in Spain, I could barely understand what people were saying, but made an effort to go to language exchanges each week. I made so many mistakes when speaking at first, and kept using French words by accident, but I found that the phrase ‘you can never make the same mistake twice’ is absolutely true for language learning, as making mistakes really helped me learn. I realised that nobody was going to laugh at me for mixing up a complicated verb conjugation or using the wrong past tense, and my Spanish improved much more quickly after that.
“Quick-fire round” (short answers)
- Favourite language – Spanish and French
- Favourite word/phrase in the language – I like the word for peninsula in French (presqu’île) as it literally means ‘nearly island’. I also like the word anteayer in Spanish, as it’s a really handy word which doesn’t exist in English.
- Favourite film / TV show / Book / Radio Station?
Spanish: Film – Julieta, TV show – Velvet (guilty pleasure), Chicas del cable and Sé quién eres
French: Film – Les Intouchables, TV show – Les Revenants
Swedish: Film – A Man Called Ove (adapted from the book by Fredrik Backman)
- Favourite destination – In Spain: Granada or the Costa Brava, above Barcelona. In France: the area around Nice, or a wee town called St-Guilhem-le-Désert, near Montpellier.
Any further thoughts?
Learning a language isn’t easy and can be an really frustrating process at times. It can sometimes seem that you’ll never reach a high enough level to be able to communicate with people fluently, and it’s so easy just to throw in the towel each time you hit a ‘wall’. However, if you manage to break through these walls, it’s so rewarding. Languages allow you to communicate with more people across the world, and meet people you never would have met if you had only spoken one language. They also broaden your mind and make you see the world in a totally different way; the advantages are endless!