The world will be a better place if we can appreciate other people and their cultures. Learning a new language helps doing just that. That’s why we promote language learning.

Yago consists of a language course directory and this blog. We try to update this blog 2-3 times a week with posts that hopefully inspire your language learning and give you valuable tips to move your learning forward.

We love to hear your thoughts, tips and tricks so do leave a comment if you can!


Guus Goorts has traveled widely and has lived and worked / volunteered in The Netherlands, Ghana, Belgium and Singapore. In descending order of fluency, he speaks Dutch, English, Mandarin, German and some rudiments of Spanish, French and Italian. Guus lives in Singapore with his wife and two young children. He settled in Singapore in early 2006 from his native country The Netherlands. After working in a job for corporate training, he founded Yago Languages in 2008.

Hazel FajardoHazel Fajardo is based in the Philippines. She studies chemical engineering and has a broad interest in life around her. She has been teaching English as a Second Language and loves photography and diving.

Mark StephensMark Stephens is originally from the UK. He has lived in Australia for many years, and is now based in Thailand. With previous experience in teaching English and in business to business sales, he is now a professional writer working on his first book.

Dolly Estrada grew up in the USA as an American of Mexican origin and learned Spanish at a later age. She has achieved fluency in Spanish, and is now living in Mexico, where she puts her language skills to good use. She has a great interest in languages (especially Italian!) and cultures.

Guest authors – being a blog about languages and cultures, we are always on the lookout for new ideas, experiences and perspectives. If you have an idea for a guest post, or any idea at all that you’d like to share, shoot us an email at blog@yagosingapore.com and you can be part of this blog!

  • Seerping


    I have passion in learning German as a new language and understand its culture, purely just for interest. Neither do I have to speak German in my daily life nor friends that can communicate wih me in German.
    But I am sure it will benefit me for my Eastern Europe trip in next year. I will be glad if you can advise me further.

    1.) For my case, is an intensive full-time course a necessity?
    2.) Apart from the Goethe Institute in Singapore, are there any other language institutes/tutors that you would recommend?
    3.) How can I improve and practice my German language, in a non-German speaking environment?

    Look forward to hear from you soon.
    Thank you.


    • http://www.yagosingapore.com Guus

      Hi Seerping,

      Thanks for your questions. As I see it:

      1. A full-time course will be helpful to kick-start your learning, but it is not a necessity. I am not aware of any full-time German courses in Singapore, so you may have to ‘make do’ with evening lessons. Which will get you started all the same. Or if you can find the time to do a few weeks of intensive course in Europe (I recommend Germany for the accent), that will be a great start. Berlin is a fun city to be in and not too expensive for living – especially now the euro is down.

      2. There are several other language schools that offer German classes. Where do you live? If you let me know I can see which one would make sense for you. You can reply me on info {at] yagosingapore [dot} com

      3. You are right that practicing the language is important. There are a lot of Germans in Singapore actually. Working expatriates, exchange students and people like you interested in learning German. You could put up a quick ad at the expat singapore forum (http://expatsingapore.com) for language exchange. There are also a few groups for German culture and language exchange, you might drop them a note or give them a call, they are probably open to welcome you at their next event: http://www.discover-germany.sg/clubs.html

  • http://tinyisland.wordpress.com/ bookjunkie

    I am just loving your blog and unique perspectives on language and issues in Singapore. Just reblogged you.

    • http://yago.sg Guus

      Just came across your blog yesterday and it’s likewise. I love the sense of wonder that many of your posts have even about very everyday things. Will keep following!

  • http://missjinghu.com/ JH

    Hey Guus. Just crossed your blog while i was searching for other Chinese speaking bloggers. Hahaha. Interesting site you have. What level of Manderin are you currently at right now? Even though Im a bilingual, I’m currently still trying to emprove my writing in hanzi. So many characters! O___O lol. Anyway, best of luck to you on your journey in learning languages! :) 加油^^

    • http://yago.sg Guus

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note, JH! 我的中文水平现在是在中级。 Which is most frustrating, I now understand enough to know what I’m missing. Time to 加油!

  • http://nihongonotabi.wordpress.com/ 3jay

    Nice blog, I’m learning Japanese thinking about learning a second language for a long time but some how things havent worked out yet. stuck betn Korean, Chinese and Arabic. hopefully I could find something useful here. Please include RSS feed for ur blog useful to keep a track.

    • http://yago.sg Guus

      Hi 3jay, thanks for stopping by and commenting! You can actually subscribe through RSS at yagosingapore.wordpress.com/feed. I’m going to have a look at your blog!

  • EDJ

    Hi Guus,

    This is a great site and good for checking out info on the BCT. I am taking the test here in Shanghai in 2 weeks, I wanted to know about the training you got in Singapore? I did an intensive course here in Shanghai for 3 months and found that my self-study was probably at least more effective. I have a lot of opinoins on this I can share more of. Another question and probably most important, if Singaporeans are taking this exam to do business with the mainland what kind of scores are their employers expecting…this one I think is always a difficult one becuase you never see a job descriptions with “minumin bct 3 or 4″ required….thanks!

    • http://yago.sg Guus Goorts

      Hi Edj,

      Thanks for stopping by.
      There are a number of government sponsored training schemes for professionals in Singapore and I have made use of one of them. You need to be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident to qualify though. I think in many cases, and especially if you don’t get subsidy, it’s probably a better use of your time to self study if you can muster the discipline and motivation.

      As for expected scores, keep in mind that pretty much all ethnic Chinese Singaporeans speak Mandarin. They speak it fluently, but they are not comfortable or used to use it in business situations. So Singapore is a place where a lot of people speak Mandarin but at the same time, companies are really lacking of people who combine good business skills with an excellent level of Chinese.

      I would say that if you score a “4” or above in the BCT, your business Chinese is better than average and it will definitely help you in your job search.

      Hope this helps!

  • Sue


    Great blog! Thanks for your feedback on the 3 online tutoring services. I want to know if you would advise differently if it was a child taking the tutoring online lessons. My 10 year takes Mandarin at school but we want to increase his time. The online option looks flexible and cheaper. Any advice?



  • http://yago.sg Guus Goorts

    Hi Sue,

    Thanks for your comment. For your child, the same advice still stands. What I would recommend is to book a free trial lesson with the ones you want to consider.

    Perhaps you can spend a bit of time speaking to the teacher yourself, and also let your child have some one-on-one time with the teacher. See which one you both feel most comfortable with. Mention up-front that it’s for a 10-year old. (Give them a chance to assign a teacher who is experienced with teaching younger students)

    More than with adults, I think it’s important that your child feels at ease with the teacher, and that the teacher is flexible and willing to adjust the approach to suit your child’s interests.

    Hope this helps. Will be great if you can let me know your final choice!


  • RIsham

    Dear Sir, I am from Sri Lanka. I am working as social services officer. i would like to follow master degree in social work. but most of the country requirements is IELTS. so I would like to follow IELTS in Singapore. How can i Apply. please help me

    • http://yago.sg/blog Guus Goorts

      Hi Risham, Sorry for the late reply. I only see your message now.

      Have a look at this article: http://yago.sg/blog/how-to-take-the-ielts-test-in-singapore/

      To be clear, there is the TEST, and there are PREPARATION COURSES.

      In Singapore, the test is done at British Council or IDP. The preparation courses are offered at many schools, including British Council and IDP.

  • LanguagesAbroad

    Hi Yago Team,

    I really love the great content you’re creating and sharing
    with the world! I’m sure your website is a great inspiration for the millions of people learning new languages and experiencing new things across the globe.

    I’m working with a company called Languages Abroad that
    facilitates language instruction in nearly 90 destinations worldwide in 19 different languages. I can’t help my feel our interests and sentiments align quite nicely.

    We’re currently compiling a list of 30 language bloggers and
    influencers around the world that we feel our students would find useful during their time abroad. We would love to feature you on this list!

    Is this something you’d be interested in reading and perhaps
    hosting on your site/social media channels?

    I look forward to hearing back from you and the potential of
    sharing our work with you in the near future!

    Kindest regards,


  • Nicolas Travis

    Hi Goorts

    I want to learn german can you recommend me this e-book please help me