¡Hola! My name is Marina and I started working with Radio Lingua in March 2015 while I was working in Glasgow as a Language Assistant. I first studied Spanish Philology at university and then went on to do a Masters in Secondary Education. After that, I did another Masters in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. I have been working as an English teacher in Spain for a long time and I have also taught Spanish abroad. Currently, I work as a Coordinator in an English Academy and I also teach Spanish as a foreign language in private classes.
What is your role in Coffee Break?
My main role is to create content for our Spanish learners and I’m also in charge of giving feedback to the Coffee Break community on Facebook, in order to help learners make the most of their Spanish learning experience.
I come up with the Facebook posts for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week, and provide feedback to people who comment on the posts. I’m also very heavily involved in the Coffee Break Spanish Masterclass. I work with Mark to create content, record audio and give feedback to members of the Masterclass, correcting homework activities and generally helping the community where I can. I really liked filming Coffee Break Spanish To Go in the sun in Spain, near where I live. More recently, I have written articles for use in the Reading Club, and produced Spanish transcripts for the upcoming En Marcha series. I also enjoy occasionally writing articles in Spanish for the CBS newsletter too. It’s quite a lot when I think about it!
What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?
I have always studied English, since I was in nursery. I had a Puerto Rican English teacher who made me love the language when I could barely speak my mother tongue. Later on, I went to a British School in Córdoba, where I also studied French, both at school and in extra-curricular lessons. I took part in exchanges to Manchester and Mayenne (France) when I was at school. My last experience abroad was living in Glasgow and working in St. Ambrose High School as a Language Assistant. I loved that experience! I’d love to go back and work there, but I come from a warmer climate and cannot live without my beloved sun!
I also spent a month living in Rome doing a “corso per pizzaiolli” where I learnt how to make authentic Italian pizzas. I can’t speak proper Italian, but I really love the sound of the language and find it quite easy to understand.
What are your favourite memories of working with RLN?
I love filming Coffee Break Spanish To Go in Málaga with Mark, interviewing people around the city. It was an intense experience as we had to carry out many interviews in a short period of time, but it’s a super nice memory. I also had a great time recording the audio lessons for the Master Class. I think is always nice to get to see the team again, because normally I work remotely and we communicate via Skype, Slack or email. I’m looking forward to doing some more filming and recording next month in Madrid!
Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom?
My ideal coffee break… I guess Brad Pitt is always a good idea! I wouldn’t mind practising my English with Brad or Ewan McGregor. And the place..? A nice “chiringuito” in Hawaii? Why not!?
What’s your best language-learning tip?
The first thing I would say is that communication is the most important thing: that’s what really makes you try to give the best of yourself, as your aim is to be understood and to understand what you’re listening to. A language exchange with a native speaker is a fantastic way to learn. This way, you’ll learn not just the language itself, but the culture and idiomatic expressions, which I really love to learn!
For something you can do on your own, I’d recommend finding what you love and try to learn more about it in your target language. For example, if you like cooking, buy a recipe book in Spanish, watch videos of typical dishes in Spanish and try to cook those yourself. If it’s travelling, decorating, music… whatever! Find blogs, books, films and enjoy your favourite thing in a different language.
- Favourite language – Italian, it sounds special.
- Favourite word/phrase in the language – A chi vuole, non mancano modi. A strong message that makes me feel unstoppable. (For those who want, there are no shortage of ways).
- Favourite film – El rey león (The Lion King)
- Favourite book – Como agua para chocolate or La casa de los espíritus. I love Latin American Literature, especially Magic realism.
- Favourite singer – Jack Johnson
- Favourite destination – I love travelling and it’s difficult to choose just one place but my favourite I’d say is Cádiz, in the South of Spain. Not just for the stunning landscapes but also the people, the food, the weather, the customs and, for me, above all, the memories. It is the place I used to go on holiday with my family, and every time I’m back there I feel butterflies in my stomach. I know it sounds too romantic, but it’s absolutely true!
Do you have a message for the Coffee Break Community?
Keep learning, always! Languages teach you so much. They help you to open your mind. It’s something that will always help you improve as a person. It’s good for you if you’re trying to improve your CV and open doors professionally, but that’s not the only reason to learn a language. For example, my mother, who is now retired, studies English and Italian and it makes her feel great. Really, it’s never too late to learn, to study, and to keep growing!