Let’s learn more about Kevin:
How did you hear about Mango Languages? I heard about Mango Languages at a U of M career fair back in January of this year.
What is your official title and job description here at Mango? My official job title is a Project Coordinator in the technology department. As for my job description, I’m responsible for running Mango’s software QA (Quality Assurance) which involves testing of the company’s web-site, admin tool, MAP, course software, and the iPhone app. I’m also hoping to get more involved in project management and later business analysis.
Where did you study/work before this? I graduated this year from the University of Michigan-Dearborn earning my Bachelors in Business Administration in Information Technology Management. I was previously a personal assistant during college before coming to Mango Languages.
Any international travel stories? I actually was a trip assistant to one of U of M’s lead art historians for four years and have traveled to The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Austria, and the Czech Republic on art and architecture tours. I have had an amazing experience seeing some of the most famous works of art and architecture in the world.
What do you love most about working at Mango? For me that’s a hard question because I love a lot of things about working at Mango! Whether it’s the awesome work environment, the wonderful “Mangoes,” the empowerment that we are given as employees, or the positive attitude of the company, I feel very honored to be working for such a great company!
What core value describes you best? Definitely integrity. Having a high standard of ethics and morals I feel has gotten me to where I am in my life today and here at Mango.
Such cool facts!
Welcome to the Mango Team!
It was on August 31, 1949, that Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force Days. President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. The single-day celebration stemmed from the merger of the Armed Forces under one department — the Department of Defense.
Mango Languages supports thousands of members of the Armed Forces, via base libraries, government agencies and armed forces units in the area of Language Learning resources. It is through programs such as the recently released Mango Military, Mango assists the armed forces in their peacekeeping missions. Mango Military courses focus on speaking skills and conversations for common military interactions. These conversations are critical to the success and safety of military members around the world, and are designed to meet standards and criteria set by the federal government.
This Saturday, if you get the chance, remember to say thank you to military members of your family, your community and our Nation for their service. Mango Languages says thank you as well to its Military and Government Clients and all of those “United in Strength” that support the United States Armed Forces.
How did you hear about Mango Languages? I was introduced to Mango Languages from my friend Kari. We met through another set of friends, eventually I took Kari up on her offer to try Jazzercise and that’s when we realized we have a lot in common, both of our significant others are named Trevor (her’s is Trever) and we have lots of sisters. Kari told me bits and pieces about Mango over time. It always sounded like a great place to work, and after viewing the website, blog, and videos I knew that I wanted to be a part of the passionate group of creative individuals!
What is your official title and job description here at Mango? I am the newest member of the Human Resources team and will help Alan out as a Recruiting/HR Coordinator. My focus will be on developing relationships with organizations, universities, and potential future Mangoes to build a strong network to help with continued hiring needs as the company grows.
Where did you study/work before coming to Mango Languages? I just completed my B.S. in Human Resources Development at Oakland University in Rochester, MI. While I completed my degree I maintained a full time work schedule. My background is in Human Resources based in the Automotive and Consulting industries. I’ve worked for great companies like Volkswagen, Bentley, BCG, and P3 North America, Inc., and have met amazing people along the way, but I’m excited to be a part of Mango Languages and make an impact in the e-learning language software industry!
Do you speak another language(s)? If so, which one(s)? I speak some German (usually to my cat), it’s rusty but I plan to change that soon!
Any international travel stories? My favorite trip was a Eastern Caribbean trip a few years ago. I’ll never forget getting lost in the rain-forest, swimming in waterfalls in Dominica, and meeting Wilbur the giant pig from St. Kitts.
What do you love most about working at Mango? I’m big on employee development. Although I’ve only been here for a few weeks I remember how great I felt leaving the office after my first and second interviews. The HR Manager and other leadership team members were great. I could clearly see the dedication they have to making Mango a great place to work. I feel very lucky to feel great at the end of a work day and look forward to finding more talented professionals for this organization!
What core value describes you best? I think it’s a toss up between quality and integrity. I strive to produce the highest quality work at all times in my professional and personal life but I couldn’t do this without Integrity. Honesty and good moral character are so important, I choose to surround myself in people who feel the same in doing what is right for the right reasons. Like my mom, Sherri, has always said, “What is popular isn’t always right and what is right isn’t always popular.” And let’s face it, mom’s are usually right!
Thank you Pamela for sharing. Welcome to the Mango Team!
We are so excited to announce that the Mango Pirate Language Course is here!
Ahoy mateys! If it’s pirate chatter ye be after, you’ve come to the right place. Mango’s Pirate Language Course will teach you everything you need to know to “parley” in perfect Pirate. It’s available for a limited time, and right now, it’s FREE!
In just a few minutes, you’ll learn:
- The appropriate way to hail your fellow gentlemen o’ fortune.
- A few choice names to call your lazy excuse of a crew.
- The finer points of swashbuckling.
- A bit about Pirate history, and the part it played in forming modern democracy.
- All sorts of practical Pirate lingo!
We had so much fun creating this course and along the way, got a little caught up in the life of a Pirate. Watch the footage of what the Mango Grove looked like when were were creating this course.
Looking forward for the Pirates of the Caribbean movie to come out later this month? Well now you can ACTUALLY understand everything that Johnny will be saying!
Just go to http://www.mangolanguages.com/store/pirate-day.html to start your Pirate Course for free!
Since 2007 Mango Languages has supported public servants across many sectors of government, military, and law enforcement in their foreign language learning (and ESL) needs. Mango believes, as President John Kennedy envisioned, public service is a noble calling and we are grateful to all those who serve. The First Lady, Michelle Obama has declared the week of May 1st PUBLIC SERVICE RECOGNITION WEEK. Mango Languages supports hundreds of people in the public service sector everyday by providing language learning resources.
Public servants do a million things we take for granted every day. These are the people who pick up the phone when you call 911; the police and firefighters who come to your door; the teachers in your schools; and the people who maintain your local parks. Public servants are not always visible. They focus on national security and law enforcement tasks like protecting our borders; they pursue criminals who cross state lines; and they care for our veterans. Some fifty years ago, in his state of the union address, President John F. Kennedy declared, “Let the public service be a proud and lively career.”
Mango thanks each and every public servant for keeping our homeland and shores secure and safe.
The National Education Association describes National Teacher Day as “a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives.” I’ll never forget my high school business teacher Mr. Rosenburg. He had the unique ability to capture my wandering attention and created a very fun and interactive classroom environment.
My sister is a teacher, plus being the Academic Sales Manger, I work with teachers and professors on a daily basis. I know the extreme amount of effort that they put into their profession to give their students the best learning experience possible. To all of our teachers and educators around the U.S. using Mango Languages, we hope that you truly know how important and special you are.
Have you had a teacher that has changed your life? Let them know you appreciate all that they do!
Here’s a little bit about Jeff:
“You could call me an analytic strategist. I went from graduate work in psychology, to higher education sales, to analytic and business intelligence roles, all in the educational publishing industry. I am a Spartan at heart, but also hold an MA in psychology from Long Island University, and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan (marketing and strategy). I’ve also spent time with New York University’s Digital Media Marketing program. That sounds like a ridiculous amount of education but I think we are living at a fascinating moment in which the technological tools have become so robust that our ability to solve problems is bounded only by our ability to form interesting questions. The broader your domain knowledge, the more interesting questions you can pose.
How did you hear about Mango? A Michigan classmate told me about a Mango event at Melange in Ann Arbor. From there I hounded Mango’s Marketing and HR Directors on LinkedIn until they agreed to meet with me!
What made you want to work for Mango? It is exciting to see companies that think beyond products. Mango’s leadership team has done something that most companies never think to do: they have thought about what their products mean in the contexts of peoples’ lives and re-imagined what language learning can entail. When you get an opportunity to work with people like that, you jump on it!
Do you like to travel? If so, what was your favorite trip? Alas, I am one of the least well-traveled folks at Mango. However, I would have to say that hiking through the rain-forests of Dominica and repelling in its gorgeous canyons would be at the top of the list.
What are your hobbies? As a father of three, I find that they increasingly relate to light saber battles, the zoo, and similar fare. When I have a moment, I usually reach for a guitar and rock some 90s grunge.
Which Mango core value(s) do you think you represent the most? I would say innovation. My hope is that my analytics role at Mango will feed our discussion about how we can deliver new forms of value to our customers that surprise them, enrich their lives, and establish lasting connections with them.”
When I was a student I thought that, like every decent future teacher of English, I should spend some time in the country where the language I was to teach was spoken. I chose Oxford University in England because I wanted to visit one of the oldest universities. I found a good school and I arranged an accommodation at a house that would allow me to practice my English on a 24-hour basis, seeing as I am Greek. Everything was planned; I would land in Heathrow, then I would take the train to Paddington, from Paddington to Oxford, and thence by taxi to my landlady’s house. My knowledge of the language was very good, or so I thought at the moment. We had done most of the works by Shakespeare, so my vocab was rich, right?
So there I was on the platform at Paddington, with Shakespeare’s books in my suitcase, very confident and happy that I was at a place where I could hear only English and my favorite rock songs around me all the time. Fearless, I saw a sign that the train to Oxford would depart in 5 min., I approached the guard thinking it was the perfect time to start practicing. I asked him if the train went directly to Oxford or if I had to change trains, and to my surprise, I didn’t understand a word of his response. Not even a little word that would give me some sort of clue. Oops! But I wasn’t going to give up that easily. I tried again. “Excuse me, could you repeat please?” In response I got the same rumble of words that still made no sense. Oh my.
I gave up the third time; I had to get on the train anyway. Not a very good start. I arrived at Oxford, exhausted, worried, and slightly disappointed. I went to the taxi stand and fortunately the taxi driver’s English was more comprehensible. Feeling relieved, I went to sit in the passenger’s seat only to realize that for some reason the wheel was on that side too. I gave a Hugh Grant, “Right!” and moved to the other side.
My landlady was an older lady who welcomed me with a “nice, hot cup o’ tea, dear.” She told me that her husband had passed away but…”look here” she said, proudly holding a pic she had on the mantle. “Look who he is with!” Her husband was with another older lady with a lovely little hat – but who on earth was she? “Oh,” I said “He is with the…?” “Yes, right! With the Queen!” Phew! Well, at least I knew Queen Elizabeth, the one from Shakespeare’s time.
She showed me to my room, a lovely little space. She said that she would be hosting another student who had arrived before me and so he took the bigger room and the bigger bathroom. Besides, he was an Earl. Poor me, I would never get a big room. Conclusion: before you go to England, learn a few things about the royal family. Also, look into your family tree. If you are distantly related to royalty, you will get big rooms.
And before we said goodnight, she asked, “How would you like your breakfast, love?” How would I like my breakfast? It dawned on me that in England they have English breakfast which keeps you going till the evening. But what does it consist of? “I’ll have what Jan (the Earl) will have.” That proved to be a good idea since we had orange juice, eggs with sausages, milk with cereal, toasted bread with marmalade (not jam), and coffee. I was now ready for everything.
I had no more adventures, unfortunately. Once, I went with my friend to a pub for lunch and would still be sitting there to this day unless a guy with many tattoos told us that in pubs you need to order at the counter. You live and you learn.
I have only fond memories of this trip. I didn’t mind the blunders, at least in retrospect. My teacher taught us all the dialects, so after that I was prepared to talk to any train station guard. My landlady took me to the oldest pub in the area, something like the Jamaica Inn. I went to all the colleges, walked in the corridors where so many famous people walked too. I visited the libraries. I made friends with people from other countries. Also, I saw a Shakespearean play in a courtyard of one of the colleges. Of course it rained in the middle of the play, but blankets, umbrellas, and hot cider were provided (for free!) so we were able to continue watching it. I had a great experience in Oxford.
Will you be partaking in the English culture by watching the Royal Wedding this weekend?
There comes a time when you are trying to learn a foreign language that you feel you are not making any progress. You still make mistakes; you do not understand what native speakers tell you; you try to speak in the foreign language and they answer in English because they understand you are a novice and do not want to embarrass you, etc. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt that however hard you try there is still a lot to learn? Is there a point that you are utterly confused by the information that you have absorbed and do not know what is correct and what is wrong anymore? At that time you get frustrated and lose momentum; you get discouraged and you start thinking of giving up learning the language, which was maybe the dream of your life. Getting frustrated doesn’t help at all.
Language learning goes through stages or phases. At first you’re very happy and enthusiastic with your new free-time occupation. You are satisfied that you can greet, tell your name and talk a bit about yourself. And people around you start congratulating you on your progress. After that, you start working on more challenging stuff, a bit more grammar is involved too, lots of new words. Around that phase comes the frustration I’m talking about. Beyond the basics, you need to express some more complicated ideas but here your knowledge fails you. You know how to form good sentences; you have acquired a good amount of vocab; but sometimes when you try to construct a new sentence with what you know, it’s wrong because you are missing some new grammar rule or because “that’s not the way we speak.” How come? How many things do you still have to learn? How many more uses do these Japanese particles have? For how long do you still have to strive?
What is the best to do at such moments? Here are some tips:
Re-define your goals: Was your goal to be proficient in a year? This can be possibly achieved if the language you are learning is related to your mother tongue or to another language you are good at or if you learn languages easily, but most of the times this may be far fetched. Language learning takes a lot of time and actually never ends because languages change. Always remember this, because we still learn new words even in our native tongue. I have a friend who teases me on a regular basis by sending me a new word every now and again. At first I thought, “That can’t be true.” But then I thought that it’s only natural.
Try to improve your pronunciation: Try to sound natural. Imitate what you hear and how words and sentences are pronounced. Conquer the difficult sounds. Talk to yourself using the difficult words. Don’t worry if your housemates start thinking you have gone nuts when they see you going from room to room trying to pronounce the Arabic qaf. No native speaker will think of speaking to you in English again!
Listen to a song, watch a film, or read a book in the language you’re learning: I believe this will boost your morale. Choose something relatively easy – don’t go straight to the corresponding Shakespeare – and you will see that you understand some things and you can tell more or less what is going on in a song, film, or book. You’ll see how much progress you’ve made. This will keep you motivated.
And of course, Persevere: Our mind needs time to arrange the new information. Once it does, you will experience a real breakthrough. Keep listening and learning; your mind gets all this information, but you do not realize it. When it is ready, you will be able to speak and say whatever you want.
What other tips worked for you when learning a foreign language?