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Mark: Civil Rights Advocate, Leading with French, Chinese, Spanish & Filipino


Professionals across industries and skill levels are sharing how they Lead with Languages: 

“You need to be less afraid of talking to native speakers.”

Meet Mark—a Civil Rights Advocate & Professional Development Trainer in the Immigration Advocacy sector

Mark portrait at the waterfrontLanguages: French, Chinese, Spanish & Filipino

Grew Up In: New Jersey

College: Rutgers University

Majors: Journalism & Media Studies

Study Abroad: Paris 2011, Beijing 2016

How do you use your language skills in your work/career?

This is a very crucial time for immigrants in the United States who speak other languages to accurately receive important information. At my job, I work with my coworkers to help disseminate that information in as many languages as possible. For those that I know, I help translate and proofread materials. On occasion I provide direct assistance to community members in their languages.

What is the biggest misconception Americans have about learning languages?

That just taking a language class that meets once a week is going to be enough to learn a language! Courses need to be supplemented by real-life communication. You need to be less afraid of talking to native speakers. Take advantage of the technology we have today and download every app, listen to every podcast, watch every movie and TV series, and listen to every song you can in your target language. That’s how to get to fluency.

Do you have an interesting, moving, or humorous anecdote featuring your language skills to share?

I work in a very busy part of Midtown Manhattan. Just yesterday a tourist mother and her young son were separated, and I came across her screaming his name into the street during rush hour, asking for help in Spanish. People were already helping her, so I kept walking. A block down I noticed a small crying boy trying to communicate with a couple who didn’t speak Spanish that he was lost. I immediately put two and two together and used my Spanish to calm him down and walk with him back to the corner where his mom was, and assure him that he was going to be OK. I managed to reunite him with his mother, and—bada bing, bada boom—happy tears.

Check out our pages dedicated to French, Chinese, and Spanish for information about university programs, scholarship opportunities, student testimonials, and more!

Then tell us how you put your language skills to work @LeadWLanguages on social media.