Does learning a foreign language really benefit your career?

Simply learning a language in itself does not necessarily land you a job. But depending on your situation, knowing several languages can still have advantages for your career. Here’s a quick video of a presentation I did on the topic.

To find what speaking several languages in the workplace does to how others see you, I asked a question on LinkedIn:

In the workplace, do you perceive someone who speaks several languages differently from someone who speaks only one, assuming that they otherwise have a similar skill set?

I got a diverse range of replies, but there are some common characteristics that were generally attributed to a person speaking several languages:

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My talk at Career & Education 2014: Tips for Language Learning

I was at Career & Education 2014 on Saturday 8th March to share tips for learning a new language faster. It’s mostly based on my personal experience.

Here are the slides!

Here’s the slides:


Some photos of the event:

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If you’re interested to have the more in-depth story, you can sign up for the e-mail newsletter. It starts with a series of 4 e-mails about:

  1. How long it takes to learn a new language
  2. Why learn a new language?
  3. What different ways are available to learn?
  4. How to overcome fear of failure.

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Where to learn French in Singapore?

haute couture

“Haute Couture” is French for “high fashion”

Where to learn French in Singapore? In this post, I have tried to put together the best French courses available, for adults and kids; part-time, full-time and even online.

There are many good reasons to learn French. It’s the language of fashion, arts and gastronomy, and a working language of organisations like the UN, WTO, FIFA, EU and many more.

There are some excellent courses available. Which one to pick? It depends on your objectives and situation.

Three French-only language schools in Singapore

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How to get a student visa for Singapore?

Asian StudentIf you study in Singapore, you will need to live here long term. That’s where the student visa comes in.

In fact, in Singapore, it’s referred to as “student pass”, and that is the term that we will use in this article.

We get many questions from people who want to study in Singapore but are unsure of how they can get a student pass and for how long. And I am sure that many more of you have similar questions but don’t actually ask. I will write this post in a “question and answer” format and cover all the questions we get frequently. Hopefully this post will answer all your questions about student passes in Singapore.

1. Do I need a student pass if I study in Singapore?

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Student hostels in Singapore

Halls of a student hostel in SingaporeWhen you come to Singapore for study, you will need a place to stay. Some schools will offer you assistance with this, while others won’t. But whatever the case is for you, it will be helpful to know what to expect.

There are three options for accommodation in Singapore:

  1. Student hostel
  2. Renting a room with a family
  3. Renting a whole apartment

We recommend to book a student hostel for at least the first 3 months you’re in Singapore. If you want to rent a room or apartment, it will take some time to understand the market and find something that fits. It’s much easier to do when you are already Singapore.

What to expect from a student hostel in Singapore? And where to find a hostel?

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Cost of living for students in Singapore

HDB flat Singapore

A residential area in Singapore.

If you are planning to study in Singapore, one question will be on your mind for sure: how much does it cost to live there?

We’ve covered the course fees for English courses in a previous article, but how much does it cost to have a bed to sleep on, a desk to study on, transport to and from school. In short, how much money is needed to live in Singapore?

The short answer is that depending on your lifestyle, you will need between S$ 1000 – 2500 per month for living expenses in Singapore as a foreign student.

I will break down the expenses in a table, and after that, go over them one by one.

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English course fees in Singapore

Notes of 100 SGDBefore you can make a decision on whether to study in Singapore, you will need need to do some budgeting. And a big part of your budget will be spent on course fees. In this post, I will give you an idea of what kind of monthly cost you can expect.

I will also break down the various course related expenses, so that you won’t have any nasty surprises!

(I’m sure cost of living in Singapore is also on your mind, I’ll write about that soon and link to it from this article).

So how much does it cost per month to study English in Singapore?

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Study English in Singapore: How much time do I need?

Open book in hands, being leafed through quickly.This is a question we often hear. The answer depends all on your personal situation. Here are a the main questions that will help you decide how long you need.

1. What is your English level now and where do you want to reach?

If you’ve done an IELTS test, this is pretty easy to determine. The general rule of thumb is that to increase your IELTS score by one full point, you need about one month. So if you score IELTS 5.0 now and need to reach 7.0, you will need two months.

2. What is your pace of learning?

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Study in Singapore as a foreigner?

SingaporeWe get a lot of questions from people who are eager to study in Singapore and just don’t know where to start. Singapore is very eager to attract international students, and the procedure is pretty simple.

But it’s hard to find the steps online. So here is a quick overview of what you need to do if you want to sign up for a full-time course in Singapore.

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Those who can’t teach; do

Child trying to button his shirt

Picture from Flickr, by Zoe

In the past days, my three-year old son insists to button his shirt all by himself.

Since these are the very first button-closings of his life, he takes a long time. It’s great that he does it himself, so he can perfect the skill, but it also really challenges my patience.

He just won’t let me do it for him. So the only thing I can do to help out, is teach him.

And trying to do just this, opens my eyes to how hard teaching really is.

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