Meet our newest team member Jake. Jake has a background in advanced analytics and digital marketing practice and worked for Microsoft as a Business Intelligence Developer. Jake is also a keen traveller, like many of our team, and along with English, he has also taught surfing in Nicaragua, and is a Hebrew teacher, helping children prepare for their coming of age celebrations (B’nai Mitzvah). An all-round talented individual!
Hi Jake! Where are you from? Any special history/facts about this place?
I am originally from Spokane, Washington, USA. It is the 2nd largest city in the state (behind Seattle). Spokane is famous for holding the world’s largest outdoor 3-on-3 basketball tournament every year (over 30,000 people!), an annual Lilac festival, and being the home town of Bing Crosby.
How did you end up in Leipzig?
From September 2021 to October 2022, I solo-travelled through Central and South America. While in Nicaragua, I volunteered at a yoga and surf camp as the surf instructor for one month. On my first day, I fell in love with the yoga instructor (who is from Jena). After traveling together for a few months, I decided I wanted to give life in Europe a try. My life has changed for the better ever since I met this German yoga instructor at a small beach town in the middle of Central America. In November 2022, I flew to Germany, and have loved being here since.
What do you love about Germany?
My favorite words to describe life in Germany are “practicality”, “comfortability”, and “possibility”. I love German culture for its ability to structure society in an efficient and opportunistic way. Some of my favorite things about life in Germany include the public transportation, the bike lanes, the bakeries, and close proximity to nature and other countries. Truthfully, I do not miss much about the United States. I’ve found another level of happiness ever since I left. However, I would say I miss my family, friends, and the comfort of speaking the country’s language at a native level the most.
You are currently learning German – can you share any tips you have from both the language learner and language teacher perspective to help our students?
Learning a language is so difficult. I love it some days and I hate it the other days. Now that I’ve been on both sides of the language process (teaching and learning), I can offer a few pieces of advice:
- Be persistent. Daily and weekly practice keeps the language fresh in your mind.
- Listen to a podcast in your target language that 1) you are interested in, and that 2) asks questions. When the speaker asks the question, pause the podcast, answer it on your own, and then continue listening. Repeat this over and over and over again.
- Be fearless. No human is perfect. It is okay to make mistakes! Don’t let the fear of what others think of you deter you from speaking with an accent, stuttering, or incorrectly conjugating. Practice makes perfect.
We all now routinely teach both face-to-face and online – what do you like about each method – do you think each has its own advantages?
I really enjoy teaching both face-to-face and online. When teaching face-to-face, I like feeling the physical energy of the student(s) and utilizing any and all hands-on tools available. There is something very magical about teaching in-person. While on the other hand, teaching online provides a wonderful opportunity to engage with one another while being many kilometers away. As well, all tools that are used face-to-face can also be used online (e.g., whiteboards, listening exercises, worksheets, etc.). One can fit learning a language into their schedule from wherever they choose, how amazing is that!