Carol, tell us a little bit about yourself:
Currently, I am living in Munich working as a coach, facilitator and trainer for executives, intercultural teams and corporate branding efforts. Companies I work with, in addition to Speak!/B-Speak!, include BMW, Siemens, Alliance and others. Before moving to Germany I taught at the university level for 20 years. I am an American from Washington, DC, and have lived in both Hong Kong and Germany.
How has learning German helped you become a better English teacher?
I went on to receive my Ph.D. from NYU in Germanic Language and Literature after living as an expat in Munich, Germany 25 years ago. It was a huge challenge, but was something I have never regretted. When you learn a foreign language, you become more empathetic about what it feels like to feel a little ‘out of control’ or ‘not quite yourself’ when speaking another language. Speaking a foreign language sometimes makes you feel as if you have one arm tied behind your back’. Your personality can be difficult to fully convey and/or you can sometimes feel inauthentic when trying to express yourself because you don’t have the tools you have in your native language. With the proper coaching and training, these difficulties become much less intimidating, and you can start to feel confident, authentic and even have fun speaking!
What do you enjoy most about teaching advanced English?
International students who want to improve their English skills are developing one of the best tools to work globally. There is no other skills you can improve that will increase your odds of getting a higher level of pay and ability to advance to the management level. Take it from the HBR!
You were so instrumental in the early days of B-Speak! What prompted you to work with us again 10 years later? (We're delighted to have you back!)
My Master’s thesis from UVA was on the ‘International Student Experience at Darden School of Business.’ Before I moved to work in Europe, I was doing workshops at Darden School of Business in intercultural communication and presentation skills. Working in Europe with many different companies is really stimulating and energizing, however, I decided I wanted work with students again at the university level so I could hopefully impact their experience and provide insights I have garnered from working in business in Europe. The mix is wonderful and there is nothing more exciting than seeing people develop themselves. This is why I do what I do.
You're working with graduate students and working professionals from many different countries. Is there something they all have in common?
At the core we are all human. I remind my clients of that when I conduct intercultural training. I see more that we have in common than how we differ.