April 12, 2016

Language Training Online – It’s Easy!

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Language Training Online – It’s Easy!

Relocation Can Mean Less Time for Language Training

Assignees and their accompanying family members moving to a new global location frequently face a double-edged sword when it comes to language. While they are often aware that learning the local language would help them considerably with their personal and professional adaptation, they may believe that they simply don’t have the time for the face-to-face, in-person training that would enable them to really communicate with their colleagues and function effectively in business situations, let alone navigate the grocery store! I grew up in the Chicago area in a culturally diverse neighborhood and had started learning Spanish through my Mexican friends as their families didn’t speak English. I memorized simple phrases to be able to communicate with them, and took a year of high school Spanish to learn how to read, write, and speak it better.

I realized the need to refine my Spanish skills for business use when I began working with my first Mexico-based client. My basic Spanish skills were good for a casual environment, but they were going to fall short of what it took to really develop the strong business relationships I needed to make this engagement work. Like assignees who are dealing with busy work schedules and the complex demands of an overseas relocation, I had my own challenges—pressured work and home schedules that made it difficult to set aside the time needed to improve my Spanish skills.

When Cartus introduced their new face-to-face online solution as an alternative to their traditional in-person training, I signed on. The customization and flexibility seemed like a good fit for me. 

How Does Cartus’ Face-to-Face Online Training Help?

Right away, I could see the benefits. First, classes could be taken conveniently anywhere I had access to a computer; there was a lot of flexibility in scheduling, so I could fit the lessons in easily. And I was really surprised at how the online approach, using a virtual classroom with a live trainer, was so much like actual face-to-face training! It was great to discover that any trepidation about potential challenges with the technology interface that I may have had prior to the lessons was totally unfounded. Accessing Cartus' face-to-face, online training platform was really easy, and I experienced great quality visual and audio communication with my trainer.

I started the Cartus program with a basic knowledge of Spanish acquired over a year at high school and casual use, but I had continued to study it on my own. My “self-taught” background meant strengths in some areas and gaps in others, and my trainer customized learning plans for me, keeping the classes interesting and making sure I was being challenged so that I would consistently keep advancing. Most importantly, she personalized each program by incorporating things that I needed in order to communicate easily and effectively with my client and suppliers in Mexico, and tailored my lessons for Mexican interaction, which is what I really needed for both business and personal use.

So far, I’ve taken a total of 60 hours of language lessons, and while I’m proud of the high scores I’ve received on the final exams, I’m prouder that my friends, colleagues, and, yes, my client, have commented on how much more advanced my Spanish skills are now. The online training really allowed me to use my Spanish language skills in the business world with confidence—not to mention getting around in the grocery store!  

If you’d like to hear more about what Cartus’ face-to-face online language training can do for you and your employees, contact us at trustedguidance@cartus.com. You can also read an article that discusses the challenges relocation professionals may face in mastering languages other than their own.

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Michelle Dreyer

About Michelle

Michelle Dreyer started with Cartus as a Client Services Consultant in 2010 and is now an Account Manager in the Irving, Texas, office. In addition to her native English, Michelle speaks Spanish with advanced proficiency.

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Oscar Romero
Hi Michelle,

First of all, congratulations for improving your Spanish so quickly with Learnship. As a bilingual English/Spanish speaker, I know how complicated Spanish grammar can be and how much time it can take to learn enough Spanish to communicate well in business settings! Second, thanks for posting your blog and reminding us how effective live online language learning can be to help us bring our language skills to the next level.
Donna Carter
As Michelle's friend, I am constantly amazed, and a little jealous of how fluent her spanish speaking skills are! We frequently have dinner together in restaurants where the staff is predominantly Spanish speaking, she proficiently orders our dinner, and engages in light conversation with the staff, they love her.
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