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Building Bridges with Words: Sarah Rose on the Power of Multilingual Communication
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Building Bridges with Words: Sarah Rose on the Power of Multilingual Communication

Kinga Bartczak
Building Bridges with Words Sarah Rose on the Power of Multilingual Communication-Article

Welcome to our interview with Sarah Rose, founder of “English with Sarah Rose.” As a qualified EFL teacher, Sarah specializes in helping non-native speakers enhance their English skills, particularly focusing on professionals aiming to expand their international market reach. Besides English, Sarah is proficient in Italian and Spanish, which adds depth to her teaching and allows her to connect with a diverse range of students. Today, we’ll explore her journey, strategies, and insights into language learning.

1 Dear Sarah, thank you for introducing yourself to our community as a role model! Would you like to give the community a little insight into your biography?

Sure, and thanks for such a lovely introduction! In a nutshell: I’m Sarah, a language and travel enthusiast, who has been lucky enough to turn these passions into my career.

I grew up in a village in the heart of the English countryside and, like most of my peers, never really thought twice about learning another language. I thought it would be a perpetual item on my bucket list, along with other impossible dreams like ‘time travel’.

But my enthusiasm for travel, combined with the practical need for a way to fund this, led me into teaching English as a foreign language. This ‘bill-paying’ job gradually turned into a true passion of mine. Seeing how my help and encouragement really impacted others in a positive way was (and I apologize for the cliché, but it’s true) unbelievably rewarding. I learned a lot from working with schools and academies but, after a while, I thought,

Why not do this myself, designing my own course structures and teaching in a way that I know leads to results?

So, that’s what I did.

2. you graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and achieved a qualification as an ‘Expert in Bilingual Education’ as well as a TEFL certificate. Did you always want to be a teacher, or did you have a different career aspiration?

Funnily enough, I distinctly remember a younger Sarah vowing to herself that she would never become a teacher. I had always associated teaching with paperwork, headaches from controlling restless children and counting the days down for the summer holidays. Not something particularly appealing.

This all changed through my studies and experience in classrooms. I discovered how to teach effectively. The more engaged and passionate I felt as a teacher, the more I saw my students sharing that same interest. I have a very student-centered approach, and I try to encourage them to talk as much as possible. By drawing out their interests, I try to get them as excited about the language process as I am.

Beyond the Classroom: nurturing Motivation and Resourcefulness in Language Learning

3. in this context, do you have an ultimate insider tip for anyone whose motivation is waning or who perhaps doesn’t have the budget to invest in their language skills?

It can definitely be draining, both financially and mentally, to learn a language. But, to be honest, throwing money around doesn’t necessarily help. Motivation is definitely valuable, but this will always come in waves. I find, as with learning any new skill, the real key is self-discipline.

If you have this, then the world is your oyster. There are so many free, fantastic materials online that make it fairly simple to find something to suit your interest. With this in mind, I set up my social media pages (Instagram, TikTok) where I publish reels and posts to offer quick, engaging tips for higher-level learners. I’ve had so many messages from students who are unable to afford individual tutoring and this regular, free content can really support their learning.

In terms of waning motivation, I always tell my students that it’s so crucial to celebrate small victories. Nothing is more motivating than seeing your own progress, and by setting yourself regular, achievable goals, you can track your own progress more easily. As an example, my current weekly goal is to write a diary entry every day in Spanish. It’s not a wildly difficult challenge, which makes me more likely to do it, and my success in these tasks keeps me motivated to continue to push myself while making sure I’m using new vocabulary in real-life sentences – none of this ‘the cat is on the table’ stuff!

4. you yourself have experienced that learning a language can be very different, because you have also learnt Spanish and Italian. Can you take us with you here and explain the differences in the learning process and what this has changed for you?

Many people assume that I picked up these languages effortlessly, due to the fact that I’m passionate about language learning and that I’ve lived in Spain and Italy for three years apiece. Honestly, though, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I struggled, particularly with Spanish, a lot. I never thought I was unintelligent, but after spending a solid month studying the subjunctive tense in Madrid and still not getting it, going to work at a school and hearing toddlers using these structures effortlessly really made me stop and question my mental capacities!

So many people think that they ‘aren’t language people’ or they ‘just don’t have the brain for it’. I don’t think that’s true at all. I definitely included myself in this category, but my problem was that I was looking at it from the wrong perspective. As soon as I turned to more dynamic sources – telenovelas to listen to, stories to read, friends to chat with – it all started to ‘click’ and come to me more naturally. This is why humor, interest and engagement are things that I always try to incorporate into every one of my classes.

Bridging the Gap: tailoring English Lessons for Individuals and Corporations

5. on the one hand you are conducting all your sessions online through various platforms, on the other hand you also travel to different locations for projects and conferences to provide in-person teaching and coaching. What is a bigger challenge for you?

Picture Sarah Rose

I love the diversity and variety of my work, although of course, there are challenges that come with working both online and in-person.

For example, it might seem counterintuitive, but conducting online sessions can take its toll in a physical way. On an average day, I might teach around six hours of classes, and spending that much focus on a computer screen without much physical movement can be demanding.

I usually relish chances to teach in-person, as the majority of my work is online, but in general I find I can relate to students in a similar way through both styles. Perhaps the true benefit of in-person teaching is the networking: meeting other teachers and like-minded linguists is a huge asset, as this truly helps me learn and develop as an effective teacher.

6. you are working with international companies (eg. TRYCamps Finland, SmarterEnglish Italy) and directly as a freelancer with private individuals and companies (eg. HUF Germany). Do companies have different expectations of your teaching than private individuals?

My style of lessons for each does differ. With the courses that I run for businesses, there is an expectation to improve language proficiency for employees, particularly practical communication skills within a professional context. For these courses, I offer regular progress reports, weekly emails and presentations that revolve around Business English topics.

On the other hand, there is no set expectation when it comes to private individuals. Some students prioritize conversational fluency, others cultural nuances, and others need a more grammar-centered approach.

For all courses that I run, flexibility plays a crucial role, as I always aim to personalise each lesson to match the student’s personality, age, level and even mood. In the end, whatever the student’s learning objective may be or whoever the company I’m working with is, my goal is to help each learner feel immersed and engaged by bringing them into my English world.

7. you have also moved a few times in the course of your life. Do you have any tips for our community for those who are perhaps afraid that they won’t be able to cope in a new country?

Absolutely! Moving abroad can be such a rollercoaster, and it’s never as easy as it seems. But it has taught me so much, and I’ve had so many one-of-a-kind experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

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Just to explain: although I grew up in the UK, I had the chance to study abroad in Los Angeles, and this really inspired me to have more experiences abroad. After graduating, I moved to Australia. It was fairly familiar for me, although it’s the other side of the world from where I grew up, as I had gone to school in Sydney for a short period when I was thirteen and, of course, they speak my native language.

Although Australia was far from home, the real challenge was moving to Spain. This was a real eye-opening experience, and it set me on my current path. If you had told me ten years ago about my life now, I never would have believed you. But isn’t that so exciting? So, in summary, for anyone nervous to take the leap or worried about coping abroad: reflect if it’s what you really want, and if so, embrace the unknown! You have no idea where it may lead you.

Carving your own Path: tips for aspiring Language Entrepreneurs

8. the market for artificial intelligence is also expanding more and more in the language sector. What do you think about this development? Do you see it more as a threat or an opportunity?

I’ve been teaching for over six years, and it’s been fascinating to watch the changes and developments – most notably, from the lockdown period in 2020 and, as you rightly say, artificial intelligence.

I find discussions about AI so interesting, particularly in relation to language learning. I don’t like to see AI as a threat, though. I think it has so much potential, and I try to keep as up-to-date as possible with the new inventions and apps that cater to language learning. One example that I have incorporated into lessons is the Hello History app, where students can ‘chat’ in English with historical figures, and see how language has changed throughout the years. It can add such a fun and innovative dimension to lessons. To be honest, I completely understand why many are worrying that AI will hinder the learning process, but in my opinion, it will only fuel it.

9. perhaps there is also a multilingual talent or two in our community. What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow a similar path to yours?

For anyone who wants to start their own language-learning company, I’d one hundred percent recommend it. As much as I enjoyed working in previous roles, nothing beats the freedom of designing the course however you like, and the pride in seeing how your tried and tested methods give way to such fantastic results.

The flexibility and freedom to choose your own clients, decide your own hours, be your own boss, is wonderful: although, it’s definitely worth mentioning that it does have its own added pressures. But, if you are prepared to have total responsibility and are ready to invest in progressing others, it is definitely worth it.

10 Dear Sarah, finally, I have the community’s favorite question for you: Where do you want to develop in the next 5-10 years? Where will we hear, see and experience more of you?

I have a lot of plans, and right now I’m just waiting for some free time to get them started! For example, I would love to expand my company with some other teachers, in order to meet the substantial demand for high-quality English courses.

Over the past few years, I have transitioned further into the corporate world for language learning, and this is my main focus at the moment. Being able to master English at work can really set employees and companies apart, adding a level of professionalism that can be highly beneficial. I have received such positive feedback from companies, highlighting how my courses have boosted morale in the workplace, and I’m so proud that the courses I work hard on are seen as such a ‘perk’. I’m eager to expand on this level of trust and value in my future endeavors.

Aside from this… who knows! Every year has brought new opportunities, things that I would never have guessed were possible. I can’t wait to see where it leads from here.

Dear Sarah, thank you so much for your inspiring answers! I’m sure there are many exciting readers who will feel encouraged by your tips to use their language skills to create a bridge of communication to connect diverse people and cultures. Thank you for leading the way as a role model.

About the author

Website | + Articles

Kinga Bartczak advises, coaches and writes on female empowerment, new work culture, organizational development, systemic coaching and personal branding. She is also the managing director of UnternehmerRebellen GmbH and publisher of the FemalExperts magazine .

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