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How To Learn A Foreign Language While Working Full Time

Posted January 9th, 2017 by myngle
Categories: Language Learning


Learning a foreign language can be time-consuming and soul crushing. You never seem to have enough time to read grammar books or enough space in your head to remember various forms of a verb.

When you have a 9-to-5 job, both spare time and brainpower tend to shrink down to nothing. It seems impossible to find time for anything else on top of work, social time and, in some cases, parent responsibility. However, that does not have to be the case.

5 strategies to learn a foreign language while working full time

1. Dump the excuses

This is the single most important step. You need to get into the mindset that you can do it. It is challenging to juggle a demanding career and mastering a new language, but not impossible.

Your chance of mastery is high providing a structural plan,  good teachers, learning companions, and smart time management tactics. I will give you the strategies for those later, but this first thing you need to do yourself.

Get some paper and write the excuses that have been stopping you in your quest. They could be anything along these lines:

  • Your job is mentally demanding so, by the end of the day, your brain is too tired to take in any new words or grammar rules.
  • You have a busy social life, which takes up most evenings —the time you could have used for language learning.
  • Between work and family, you don’t have time to go to language classes.
  • Your job is stressful and you don’t need more stress from trying to learn new things.

The underlining obstacles either come from misunderstandings of the learning process or the lack of a good guidance.

You need to know that learning a language is exciting and should involve no stress. When you do it right, you can fit it into your normal working day elegantly and deftly. It doesn’t have to take you away from your social life, it adds colors to that life! You will find out why in strategies number 3 and 4.

2. Have a goal, and a plan

Let me say it again, it is possible to learn a foreign language while working.  Still, your time is limited so you want to prioritize.  Start with the reasons you study this second, or third, language.

If you are learning a language so you can read materials that are useful for your profession but not translated well or enough into your mother tongue, focus on reading skill. That means building up a wide vocabulary and learning the grammar. Conversely, listening to the news on current affairs is irrelevant, for now, and could be disheartening. Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to improve every skill.

Let’s look at another scenario: You are learning Japanese because there is an opening in Japan for a position that you want. In this case, basic conversational Japanese will help you quickly settle in at the new office and new city. Forget about the spelling and grammatical varieties, concentrate on learning to speak and listen to the everyday conversations. Don’t waste your valuable hours on the formal forms of Japanese, for example. Learn the basics and let yourself be understood.

Once you know your priorities, make a plan. If you have a personal mYngle tutor, discuss it with him or her. Tell your tutor the specific skills you want to improve, how much time you have solidly for classes or training. It is important to tell them about your habits, routines, and interests to find the best approaches together.

For example, if you commute 30 minutes by train and you love sports, a sports podcast in the language you are learning would be a great add-on. You will more examples in following strategies.

3. Build language learning into your daily routine

With a full-time work schedule, you might find it difficult to set out a straight 1 hour every evening to learn. However, you can accumulate that hour throughout your day.

Think about your time outside of work. Activities performed routinely, such as washing the dishes and ironing your clothes, aren’t mentally demanding. You can absorb a new language at the same time.

Try having the radio on when you cook. While stirring a sauce, for example, you can direct your attention to voice and try to understand the conversation. Otherwise, soak in the sound and familiarize yourself with the native speech.

You can also combine language learning with hobbies. When you are doing something you like, your brain is stimulated and the combination helps to keep your enthusiasm for the language high.

Let’s say you like to read and you are learning French. Start with a hilarious children book like Le Petit Nicolas. By the same token, if you like cooking and are learning Spanish, a foray into making tortilla de patata might be fun. I did that with my Dutch, which was tough at first as I would miss out an ingredient or two. The food got better gradually and I really enjoyed the experience.

4. Be creative in finding language partners

I’ve heard a lot of people complained about not having anyone to practice with outside the classroom,  even if they live in the country whose language they are learning. It might sound absurd but there are elements of truth.

While our online network is getting bigger and bigger – like 700 Facebook friends and 400 Instagram followers, our real life cycle is getting smaller. It is  down to your partner, family and a handful of childhood friends who understand you before you even say anything. They are a no-go for language partners. And online, you use emojis.

So what do you do?

This is the time to get creative, or to download some apps. They are the interactive alternatives to language exchange forums, the vestige of early globalisation era. Some forums are still around but most people were on there for the wrong reasons, so I would not recommend them. Try apps such as Tandem, HelloTalk or WeSpeke, instead. You register an account, add your native language and the language you want to practise, the apps would suggest matches for you.

Don’t just stay online, though. Step out of your comfort zone and find people in the neighbourhood. If you live in a big city with a university, it’s likely that they would have language clubs you can join. Learning Chinese? Go to a new Chinese restaurant and see if you can practice speaking with the waiting staff. Alternatively, find a Meetup group and go to the meetings.

5. Learning while at work

The time you are at work takes up to a third of your day and sometimes more if you have to commute. It seems like a waste to ignore that chunk of time totally and not learn anything at all.

Here are a few things you can do to improve your language skills while at work:

  • Listen to language podcasts while commuting to work
  • Refresh your new word lists during coffee breaks
  • Go to a language exchange lunch
  • Give your personal folders or files second names in the second language
  • If you like listening to music while working, why not listen to foreign songs instead?

These are the five strategies that would help you learn a foreign language while succeeding in your career. With mYngle you can get personal support from private tutors, so that you can enjoy the flexibility of learning and balance it with your professional life.

About the author:

quynh-150x150Quynh Nguyen writes about productivity for individuals and teams while travelling the world. She loves learning languages, riding a bike and having many nice cups of tea. Connect with her @QuynhThuNguyen or visit her at www.quynh.nl

How to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in 20 Languages

Posted December 23rd, 2016 by myngle
Categories: Language Learning

This year, we celebrate the holiday season by putting together a collection of season greetings in 20 different languages!

Discover how to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in 20 languages with mYngle!
Read the rest of this post »

3 Rules for More Effective Staff Training

Posted December 20th, 2016 by myngle
Categories: HR topics and support


I once had this amazing manager when I worked in the hospitality industry. Despite being the General Manager of a luxurious 5-star hotel, he stayed close to all the staff, being a rich source of inspiration to us. He didn’t attend any reputable Swiss hotel school or such. He just joined the industry at the bottom of the ladder. Throughout a few decades and a lot of training, he became the admirable leader that I had the chance to work with.

During my time in the hospitality industry I underwent many trainings. And in most of them the focus on peer coaching, on-the-job learning, and interactive workshops was impressive. That’s why, based on my own experience, I would like to propose the following three rules for effective corporate training.

Rule #1: Customize the corporate training

People have different ways of acquiring knowledge and learning new skills. Some find it more comfortable reading the materials themselves and they only come to a trainer when they have questions. Others prefer new things being presented to them in an interactive way, be it in a classroom or via video tutorials.

You should ask the trainees for their preferences before planning any staff training. Make inquiries about the preferred method (self-study vs. coaching), their favourable environment (online, classroom, or on-the-job) and the pace they are comfortable with (an intensive short course, a long course with a fixed schedule or self-pacing).

If you don’t have the access to their references or can’t accommodate all the differences, refer to the effectiveness of previous training. What type of training brings the best results regarding a specific skill? A high ROI often signifies effective training. You will find more on measuring training results on the second part.

Examples of the various training you can provide to your employees:

  • Online self-learning: share tutorial documents and videos on the company’s Google Drive.
  • Online one-on-one courses, such as mYngle for learning a new language.
  • Classrooms with a professional trainer.
  • Intensive workshops.
  • On-the-job training by a peer.
  • Working in a different department to learn new skills.

When it comes to employee satisfaction, companies that offer more customized courses and opportunities for personal development often win. Don’t stop at skills that are essentials for an employee’s job, offer to broaden their horizon and career opportunities.

It is true that some people love their job and only want to excel at one thing. However, many others appreciate the chance to learn transferable skills, such as how to manage a team” or how to persuade others”. By asking your employees about what they want to learn, you show them that you care about their personal development as much as their contribution to the success of the company.

Rule #2: Evaluate the training

Once you decide the type of training to be given to certain employees, you need to find out how to measure the results. Never start training without setting specific goals. Write down the expectation for outcomes and estimate the return on investment.

Measurable Goals

The outcomes of training could be anything that has a positive impact on the business bottom line: a higher level of customer satisfaction, reduced operation costs, a better retention rate, etc. You need to decide which outcomes you want and how you measure them.

Evaluation during training

Donald Kirkpatrick, the author of many organisation training books, advised the four levels of evaluation. He proposed companies to do evaluation in each stage of the learning.

  • Reaction: how trainees react to the materials or response during sessions
  • Learning: what knowledge they acquire
  • Behavior: what workplace behavior they have afterwards
  • Results: the impact on performance

Evaluation tools include observation, feedback, surveys, and tests. These tools can be used in combination before, during and after any given training session.

Through observation, you can see, for example, if a training session is engaging and if there’s a change in behavior.

Feedback is the great way to get trainees to share more about their progress. Ask them immediately a session if they feel that the training is engaging and beneficial. Go deeper for improvement suggestions from the attendees. Let them know that you are open for feedback in the future while they start to apply what they have learned to do a better job.

While face-to-face feedback is the best way to build employee relationships, tools like 7 Geese, Small Improvement, or Impraise help to collect feedback online, instantly and/or anonymously. Some of those tools also enable you to create surveys and analyse the results faster. They reduce the administration cost of evaluation, compared with the traditional paper surveys and tests.

Return on Investment

Many organizations use ROI analysis to measure the success of training programs because of its straightforwardness and transferability. Basically, ROI analysis tells you how much money you get back on each dollar or euro you invest on training.

The concrete number validates any training program as a business tool. Besides, you can use it to justify the cost of training programs that you propose to the C-suite. As mentioned above, it can also help when you need to make a difficult choice between training methods. Hint: Go with the one with a higher ROI.

When using ROI, you need the total cost and the monetary benefits.

Training costs could include:

  • Material production cost
  • Payment for professional trainers
  • Tradeoff between training time and working time
  • Cost of online classes offered to employees and paid for by the company
  • Evaluation cost

Monetary benefits could come from:

  • An increase in productivity
  • Income generated from new leads
  • Lower turnover costs

Rule #3. Regular Follow-ups

While it is necessary to evaluate right after the training, don’t forget to follow up later when the trainees have the time to apply what they learn into their work, be it after two weeks or a few months. Let your employees know that their feedback is always welcome, especially the input on any future training.


  • Customize training programs to the needs and preferences of your employees
  • Set up specific goals for any training program beforehand
  • Evaluate training at every level to measure the results
  • Provide assistance as trainees transfer learned skills and behaviors into their work
  • Actively seek feedback from trainees

About the author:

quynh-150x150Quynh Nguyen writes about productivity for individuals and teams while travelling the world. She loves learning languages, riding a bike and having many nice cups of tea. Connect with her @QuynhThuNguyen or visit her at www.quynh.nl

Webinar: How can learning and development unlock the business potential of executive education?

Posted November 29th, 2016 by myngle
Categories: HR topics and support


Does investing in professional learning and development improve business outcomes?

How do attitudes to investment in staff and training vary by country across Europe?

These are some of the questions that we will answer in our next live webinar on Wednesday, December 7 at 11 AM (CET).

mYngle has partnered with the Financial Times | IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance to analyze the results of a unique, independent survey conducted among 600 business leaders from across Europe.

Among other topics, our speakers will debate and question some of the key results emerging from this research:

  • Measuring return on investment for corporate learning programmes and their alignment with the overall business strategy
  • Factors involved in the decision-making process while looking for an executive education partner
  • Measuring return on investment for corporate learning programmes and their alignment with overall business strategy

Click Here to Register

Webinar Speakers

Suzanne Lucas

Suzanne Lucas, veteran HR pro and now highly successful international blogger a.k.a. Evil HR Lady.

Martin Boehm

Martin Boehm is the Dean of Programmes and Professor of Marketing at IE Business School.

David Wells

The event will be presented and moderated by David Wells, Communications Director of the Financial Times | IE Corporate Learning Alliance.

Save the date!

Join our live and interactive free webinar on Wednesday, December 7 @11:00 (CET time) to find out more about these hot topics of the HR world!

All you have to do is click on the button below and introduce your details!

Click Here to Register



5 Key Strategies for Managing Virtual Teams

Posted October 5th, 2016 by myngle
Categories: HR topics and support

managing_virtual_teamsThe future of work is virtual, according to a survey published in Fast Company. Thirty-four percent (34%) of business leaders said that over half of their workforce would be working remotely by 2020. That’s less than five years from now.

While working from home or a café does take some getting used to, the real challenge with virtual work is management.

Over the past decade, managers have been responsible for assigning, monitoring, and evaluating work based upon what they saw. In today’s work environment, that has to change because many employees are able to do their work from anywhere.

If organizations want to realize the benefits of a virtual workforce, then managers must become better at managing virtual teams. Here are five strategies for managing a virtual workforce:

Read the rest of this post »

Why Introducing Flexibility May Be Your Smartest Business Move

Posted October 5th, 2016 by myngle
Categories: HR topics and support

Businessman_working_from_homeThink about your ideal job. Does it involve getting to work at the crack of dawn, barely having time to grab lunch, and getting home after dark—even in the summer? Of course not. The ideal job allows time for family and friends, as well as a good pay check and a challenging work environment.

Bosses want an ideal employee. They may think that is someone who comes early and stays late and takes no breaks, but that’s a recipe for disaster. An employee like that will burn out quickly. So, while you may think someone who does nothing but work is ideal, the reality is a well-balanced employee will be productive for a long time to come.

How do you get that well-balanced employee?

You give them a chance for balance. You set the environment that will help them gain balance in their lives.

Yes, you can develop this type of well-balanced employee through offering flexible schedules and telecommuting.
Read the rest of this post »

Marina Tognetti to participate in the 2016 Global WINConference in Rome

Posted September 23rd, 2016 by myngle
Categories: Myngle News


We are happy to announce that next week, our CEO Marina Tognetti will participate in the 2016 Global WINConference that will take place between September 28th and October 1st at the Ergife Palace Hotel in Rome, Italy.
Read the rest of this post »

20 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language (Part 2)

Posted September 21st, 2016 by myngle
Categories: Language Learning


Last week, we shared with you 10 tips for learning a foreign language. As promised, we are back with 10 additional tips to interact with the language that you are learning on a regular basis. From scheduling routines to playing games, these 10 tips will help you integrate a foreign language into your everyday life! Read the rest of this post »

20 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language (Part 1)

Posted September 16th, 2016 by myngle
Categories: Education, Language Learning


Have you ever met someone whom you thought you had met before? This may be because they reminded you of someone you already knew. Or perhaps you meet someone who does in fact look different but in time that unique face soon becomes an acquaintance or even a good friend.

Learning a foreign language can be quite the same. Just as there only so many features which can make up a person’s face there are only so many sounds that the human tongue, throat and facial muscles can make.

So, over time you may realize that, in some ways, that strange and unique language doesn’t sound so strange anymore. What is the key to making a once unfamiliar language as familiar to you as a dear friend?


In these series of 2 articles, we will share 20 tips to exposing yourself to a language, so that that once unfamiliar language may become a close relative. Read below to find the first 10!
Read the rest of this post »

Marina Tognetti to present at the European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Posted September 13th, 2016 by myngle
Categories: Myngle News

mYngle CEO Marina Tognetti will present at the 11th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ECIE) which will be held and co-hosted by JAMK University of Applied Science and Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics in Finland this week (15-16 September 2016).

The ECIE is an international conference attracting an interesting combination of academic scholars, practitioners and individuals from more than 40 countries, who are engaged in various aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching and research.

Marina will take the stage on Thursday afternoon to present a real case of entrepreneurship through a presentation titled:

Doing a 180 kick flip with your start-up

In her presentation, Marina will tell a story you don’t hear enough about: that of an early stage company that turns around with bold moves and sets itself on the way to success. She will share what went on behind the curtains at mYngle, covering topics like:

  • Why change is an essential part of being an entrepreneur
  • The difference between “The Plan” and “The Reality”
  • Finding the right product market fit and a sustainable business model

If you are attending the conference, don’t miss this presentation at 16:00 on Thursday 15th! And if you are interested in these topics but can’t make it to the conference, feel free to follow the event via Twitter through the hashtag #ECIE16.