As a child, Lidia grew up with a sense of invisibility. She used to be the quiet child at the table and often found it hard to be listened to in her hometown. However, these early experiences fueled her desire to go off and explore the world.
“If you want to be listened to, you have to be loud.” (Lidia, 01:48)
At the age of 18, Lidia moved to Salamanca, where she earned a degree in Translation and Interpreting. At 21, she moved to Germany on an Erasmus Scholarship. There, she realized how humbling it can be to surround yourself with people who don’t speak your mother tongue. This Erasmus experience was so thrilling that she went back for more. In 2017, she began her master’s degree in Conference Interpreting at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. There, she honed her skills as a simultaneous and consecutive interpreter. Want to know how? Listen here to find out!
You will also discover where she is now and what the future holds for her.
Born in the city of Cuenca, Spain, Lidia Muñoz Solera studied Translation and Interpretation at the University of Salamanca. After finishing her degree, she moved to Heidelberg, Germany, where she began a master’s degree in Conference Interpretation. Today, she is based in Burgos, Spain, where she works as a German teacher.
Being a native Spanish speaker who learned English while growing up puts Jose in an interesting position: he actually has memories of the learning process! He was lucky enough to have a native speaker as his English teacher, and she helped him out with issues such as pronunciation.
But he was also committed to learning this new language due to his passion for role-playing games: he translated the entire manual of Dungeons and Dragons because there was no Spanish version available at the time. He was fourteen! Amazing, right? From a very young age, he found the inspiration and the drive to do something that he felt passionate about.
“I translated the whole book because I was a geek!” (Jose, 07:35)
Today, he is an English teacher and it is his job to inspire his students to enjoy the process of learning a new language. His secret weapon? Music! Jose is passionate about it and he encourages his students to listen to music in English, so as to awaken their interest in understanding the lyrics. If you want to discover more about Jose’s anecdotes in the classroom while learning and teaching English, listen to his interview here!
Born in Cuenca, Spain, Jose García began his English studies at the age of 10. He first traveled to the UK at the age of 17, then later to Ireland, while studying translation at university. He has used English in his professional life as a translator, interpreter, tourist officer, clerk for the EU, and currently as a teacher, and is passionate about British and American folk music.
Being born and raised in Belgium, a country with three official languages, has surely shaped Laura’s perception of the world. While growing up, she spoke Dutch at home and learned German, French and English at school. Crazy, right?
How fascinating is it that in Belgium everything is subtitled (as opposed to dubbed). From TV shows to movies and the news, you get to hear the whole thing in the original language! At a very young age, Laura discovered how listening to the original voices broadens our perspective of the world.
“Your voice and your expressions are part of who you are.” (Laura, 15:15)
However, living in such an environment doesn’t mean she didn’t encounter friction when traveling the world. When she first traveled alone abroad, she discovered how difficult it is to express one’s emotions and feelings in a foreign language.
Now, she knows that communication is not only about words, but also about facial expressions, gestures, tone, melody… Language and communication are part of who we are.
Laura Vander Kerken is a 27 year old Belgian who has participated in exchange programs in such countries as the US, Spain, France and England. She is addicted to learning foreign languages and experiencing new cultures. Recently she and her Spanish husband biked from Belgium to Spain, then backpacked in Colombia and Ecuador, on the ultimate dream honeymoon. Laura, who is now working in the tourism sector in Belgium, plans to keep on dreaming and traveling.