Meet the team: Olivera

Hallo! My name is Olivera and I’m a Content Production Assistant in Radio Lingua’s Coffee Break German team. That means my job is to help find the best possible topics for our German courses and turn them into the content our lessons are made of.

What is your role in Coffee Break?

Those of you who have listened to our CBG Magazine may already know me a bit – I’m the one who reads the texts and talks about the Sahnehäubchen at the end of each episode with Mark. Apart from writing the texts for the Magazine, I also helped write and record the texts for our CBG Reading Club. I help proof read all sorts of German texts we write – even if it’s just an Instagram post, we always have a native speaker making sure it’s all correct. Together with Robert, I also work on the CBG Facebook page, writing the posts and replying to our community’s questions and comments.

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

I’m a very European mix – my dad (and my name) is Serbian, my mum (and my passport) is Hungarian. I was born and grew up in Germany, and I went to university in Glasgow, Scotland for four years. As you can tell, I was really lucky to grow up around so many languages and I’ve tried to make the best of it by adding even more; I picked up French and Italian at school, and Russian at uni. I love learning, using, and teaching different languages, so working for Radio Lingua for the past 2 and a half years has been truly wonderful!

What are your favourite memories of working with Coffee Break?

Recording the CBG and CBI radio plays for CBG Season 2 – I had never done anything like that before but it was just so much fun! And the other thing is how supportive the work environment is at Radio Lingua. It meant so much, especially being at university so far away from home. Mark, Catriona, and the others always made me look forward to work, no matter how homesick I was or how stressed I was with university.

Where would your ideal coffee break be and with whom?

Any stranger at an airport, between flights. I love travelling, and I find the time between switching flights (unless I’m in a hurry) just really relaxing. There’s nowhere else you have to be and not much else you have to do. It’s like being forced to kill time, in an international place full of international people. And suddenly, you get to sit next to people you would never usually meet or talk to.

What’s your best language learning tip?

Make use of songs, films, books and pop culture! Read children’s books at first, where the language isn’t too challenging, then later on as you progress you might want to read your favourite novel in that language, and so on. The same goes for watching a show or movies in the language you’re learning – at first, you’ll need English subtitles but as you learn more and more, you’ll depend on them a little less, and at a certain point you’ll even be able to switch to subtitles in the given language. Or if you’re not a total beginner, you could switch your phone to that language and you’ll eventually pick up new words simply by seeing them every day. These are small things, but they combine language learning with leisure, and you don’t even notice how you gradually pick up more and more words and phrases. It’s one thing to read in a language, but so much more difficult to actually get speaking – tandem with a stranger because you don’t know them, there are no expectations, and a lot less pressure. It’s really relieving to know you’re both in the same boat. You literally listen to someone else making the same mistakes you make, just in different languages. Personally, I find it a lot more helpful not to do it with a friend or family member just because your language learning process may be different from how they already know you – a stranger has no expectations and no other knowledge about you and can simply just focus on your language skills.

Quick-fire round

• Favourite language: By the way they sound, Turkic languages, but from the ones I understand, I think it would be Hungarian – it’s very rich and full of tiny little nuances that allows for endless puns.
Favourite word/phrase: возвращаться It’s the Russian word for ‘to return’. I just love how it feels when you pronounce it.
• Favourite film: Love Actually. I’ve seen it 36 times. It doesn’t have to be Christmas, and I don’t have to be in any specific state of mind, I can just sit down and watch it any time and enjoy it.
• Favourite TV show: How I Met Your Mother
• Favourite destination: Iceland
• Favourite Bands: The Midnight, Deftones

Do you have a message for the Coffee Break community?

The ever-growing community of Coffee Breakers is the reason why we’re able to keep delivering new and exciting content, so a massive Dankeschön (Thank You) to both new members who are just discovering Coffee Break Languages, and those who have stuck around for years!