In case you missed part 1 or part 2 of this series, Marketing Intern Robbie discussed his experience with Mango’s language requirement and that of Mango’s HR director. For a final perspective on the topic, he interviewed one of Mango’s Account Executives, Ken Nance, who lives in the Seattle area. Here’s how it went:
Robbie: What were your first impressions of the language requirement when it was implemented?
Ken: At first, I thought the requirement was a very good idea. It was logical for Mango employees to learn a second language and to immerse ourselves in our product on a regular basis. However, I initially looked at it as more of an obligation than a fun thing that I wanted to do.
What language did you choose to learn and why?
I chose Japanese because I am active in martial arts training. We always have people coming over from Japan to tournaments and seminars who don’t speak English. I always wanted the ability to converse with those people.
What did you expect to get out of the 90 minutes per week learning this language?
For my first three weeks of learning Japanese, I had to be reminded by my boss to complete my required hours. I would cram in 90 minutes worth of learning at the last minute, which was far from the best way to learn. After I started spacing my learning out, I started to really pick it up. I began learning for 30-40 minutes each morning, which improved my learning experience. My seven-year-old son would always sit beside me while I learned in the morning and soon he began to learn Japanese too! He started with the Little Pim program and has already moved onto the adult Mango program. I now look at learning Japanese as something I wanted to do rather than something I had to do.
Have you made any connections since learning Japanese?
Yes. A couple times a week, I see the father of one of the children at my dojo who speaks fluent Japanese. Now, when he gives me instructions for my martial arts training, I am able to partially speak with him in his native language.
What are your thoughts of the language requirement now?
Now that I learn Japanese on my own (without my boss telling me to), I enjoy learning a second language. I plan on switching to Spanish after I have been learning Japanese for a year. I live in Seattle and it is almost necessary to know Spanish for the business world on the west coast. Though Japanese has had a lot of personal benefits for me, Spanish has its professional ones.