Meet the Team: Ava

Hello! I’m Ava and I’m a Content Production Assistant for Radio Lingua. I started as an intern around a year ago and then began working here part-time 5 months ago. I’m currently in my final year at the University of Glasgow where I study French and Music.

What is your role in Coffee Break?

My role involves a variety of tasks, but I am mainly involved in producing social media content. This includes making graphics for Instagram, researching and writing blog articles and making social videos – all while getting to use bits of my languages. One of my favourite parts of the job is choosing songs and writing about them for our musical feature, Tune for Tuesday which, as a languages and music lover, suits me very well!

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

My first experience of learning another language was in primary school, when we were taught some basic Scots Gaelic, but my interest in languages truly began when I started learning French and Spanish at High School. This led me to decide to study French at university, where I’ve also had the chance to learn some Italian and Mandarin. I’ve also been lucky enough to practise my languages abroad, including spending a summer working as an au-pair in Paris. Since kids love teaching you something they’re better at than you, I learned a great deal during this time, and it turns out playing a lot of Monopoly with French kids is a great way to practise numbers! Also, as part of my degree, I spent a year studying at a French-speaking university in Montreal, Quebec. This was fascinating for me – learning about a culture and a dialect of French that was entirely new to me, even if adapting to québécois French did take a little bit of getting used to! 

What are your favourite memories of working with Coffee Break?

One of my favourite memories was when I first started working with Radio Lingua as an intern. I learned a lot of new things during those 6 months and really enjoyed working on a whole range of different projects with the other interns. Another great memory is when we first launched our Tune for Tuesday feature. Having been involved with the creation process of this from the beginning, it was exciting to see it finally being shared with all of you.

Where would your ideal coffee break be and with whom?

My ideal coffee break would be spent practising my Spanish with the Catalonian trail runner, Kílian Jornet. But for the ideal location, he’d have to travel to meet me for a takeaway coffee at my favourite spot at the top of le mont royal – the beautiful hill in the centre of Montreal. 

What’s your best language learning tip?

Think about every moment in your day when you hear, read, speak or write in your native language and try to do as many of those things as possible in the language you’re learning. This may mean changing the language settings on your phone, watching Netflix with subtitles in the language you’re learning or listening to music, writing your to-do list or speaking to your pet in that language.

Quick-fire round

  • Favourite language: French – because I am most familiar with this language and so have been able to discover more about francophone cultures, films, books and music – or Mandarin – just because I’ve found it so interesting learning a language which is so different from the others I am familiar with.
  • Favourite word/phrase in French: One of my favourite French phrases is l’esprit de l’escalier, which describes the moment when you think of a witty comment too late. I think this is a great phrase which English needs an equivalent of! I also like the québécois word for boyfriend, mon chum, which is pronounced just like the English word ‘chum’. 
  • Favourite film: Café de Flore and La vita è bella
  • Favourite destination: A small lake called Gamskarsee which is near a village called Ehrwald in Tyrol, Austria. I’d love to learn German and practise it in this area.

Do you have a message for the Coffee Break Community?

As someone who loves both climbing mountains and learning languages, I’ve learned that anything that takes time and is difficult at moments is always worth it in the end. However, language learning definitely doesn’t have a clear summit – we’re all still finding out new things about the languages we’re learning every day.