Archive for Language Learning

Language Sharing in Singapore

Singapore is a multicultural country. It would comes as no surprise, then, that they are a number of languages spoken in the country. To foster national unity and identity, the government promoted four official languages, which are: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. While Malay is the country’s national language, English is the language of the administration. Mandarin is the lingua-franca for the Chinese, while Tamil is used by Indian communities.

Singapore has also become a home to many expats from around the globe. With the country becoming a flourishing business hub, many overseas workers travel and stay in Singapore either to grow their business or to work there for international companies.

A nation filled with diverse nationalities makes Singapore a great place to practice languages! We have listed here some of the benefits of learning a new language:

Building new friendships

Learning a new language can be a tough and takes time and perseverance. Without the pressure of being in a school and being graded, private tutors must remain honest with their students and let them know their weaknesses and how they can improve. In the end, we noticed that most learners will share a strong bond with their private tutor.

Learning a different culture

Spending a lot of time with a person from a different culture, in-person, can help you learn more about the language you want to learn. The time you spend with your language tutor won’t be purely spent on teaching. You’ll be bound to have some few small talks here and there about the country where the tutor is from, and the reasons why they moved here in Singapore to teach their mother tongue. You will get to learn more about your tutor’s country as well as their local customs. Isn’t it better than learning a language through Skype?

Getting new perspectives

People from different cultures can see things in different ways. Learning a new language will definitely help you think in a different way. It’s like adding a dimension to your usual thinking process! It will enrich your views and opinions, and make you less biased than when you started learning.

Now, what are you waiting for to start learning?

TUTOROO connects native speakers with people who want to enhance their conversational skills in any language at their preferred place and time in Singapore.


Does learning a foreign language really benefit your career?

Simply learning a language in itself does not necessarily land you a job. But depending on your situation, knowing several languages can still have advantages for your career. Here’s a quick video of a presentation I did on the topic.

To find what speaking several languages in the workplace does to how others see you, I asked a question on LinkedIn:

In the workplace, do you perceive someone who speaks several languages differently from someone who speaks only one, assuming that they otherwise have a similar skill set?

I got a diverse range of replies, but there are some common characteristics that were generally attributed to a person speaking several languages:

Read more

My talk at Career & Education 2014: Tips for Language Learning

Please try entering,link,name,images,album&limit=200 into your URL bar and seeing if the page loads.

I was at Career & Education 2014 on Saturday 8th March to share tips for learning a new language faster. It’s mostly based on my personal experience.

Here are the slides!

Here’s the slides:


Some photos of the event:

Facebook API came back with a faulty result. You may be accessing an album you do not have permissions to access.

Subscribe to e-mail

If you’re interested to have the more in-depth story, you can sign up for the e-mail newsletter. It starts with a series of 4 e-mails about:

  1. How long it takes to learn a new language
  2. Why learn a new language?
  3. What different ways are available to learn?
  4. How to overcome fear of failure.

I absolutely don’t want to be spamming anyone. That’s why every e-mail has an “unsubscribe” link. Click it once, at any time, and the e-mails will stop instantly.

Here’s the sign-up form.


How to get a student visa for Singapore?

Asian StudentIf you study in Singapore, you will need to live here long term. That’s where the student visa comes in.

In fact, in Singapore, it’s referred to as “student pass”, and that is the term that we will use in this article.

We get many questions from people who want to study in Singapore but are unsure of how they can get a student pass and for how long. And I am sure that many more of you have similar questions but don’t actually ask. I will write this post in a “question and answer” format and cover all the questions we get frequently. Hopefully this post will answer all your questions about student passes in Singapore.

1. Do I need a student pass if I study in Singapore?

Read more

Student hostels in Singapore

Halls of a student hostel in SingaporeWhen you come to Singapore for study, you will need a place to stay. Some schools will offer you assistance with this, while others won’t. But whatever the case is for you, it will be helpful to know what to expect.

There are three options for accommodation in Singapore:

  1. Student hostel
  2. Renting a room with a family
  3. Renting a whole apartment

We recommend to book a student hostel for at least the first 3 months you’re in Singapore. If you want to rent a room or apartment, it will take some time to understand the market and find something that fits. It’s much easier to do when you are already Singapore.

What to expect from a student hostel in Singapore? And where to find a hostel?

Read more

Cost of living for students in Singapore

HDB flat Singapore

A residential area in Singapore.

If you are planning to study in Singapore, one question will be on your mind for sure: how much does it cost to live there?

We’ve covered the course fees for English courses in a previous article, but how much does it cost to have a bed to sleep on, a desk to study on, transport to and from school. In short, how much money is needed to live in Singapore?

The short answer is that depending on your lifestyle, you will need between S$ 1000 – 2500 per month for living expenses in Singapore as a foreign student.

I will break down the expenses in a table, and after that, go over them one by one.

Read more

Study in Singapore as a foreigner?

SingaporeWe get a lot of questions from people who are eager to study in Singapore and just don’t know where to start. Singapore is very eager to attract international students, and the procedure is pretty simple.

But it’s hard to find the steps online. So here is a quick overview of what you need to do if you want to sign up for a full-time course in Singapore.

Read more

Those who can’t teach; do

Child trying to button his shirt

Picture from Flickr, by Zoe

In the past days, my three-year old son insists to button his shirt all by himself.

Since these are the very first button-closings of his life, he takes a long time. It’s great that he does it himself, so he can perfect the skill, but it also really challenges my patience.

He just won’t let me do it for him. So the only thing I can do to help out, is teach him.

And trying to do just this, opens my eyes to how hard teaching really is.

Read more

Listen to the Lingo

An ear, brain and circle with the words: Listen, Learn, AdaptSome people have a natural talent for learning languages whilst for others it can be a task that’s much harder to grasp.

Without a flair for foreign fluency, you can become tongue-tied, confused and end up deflated. So what hope is there for the not so linguistically gifted to learn a foreign language?
One recommended method is to simply listen to the language, to learn the sentences almost by parrot fashion without questioning why it’s structured that way, how to distinguish between the tenses, or what each individual word means.

People have a tendency to need to understand the meaning or spelling of something before they say it, or to see it in the written form, otherwise they don’t feel that they have learned it correctly. But if they just listen to the phrases and repeat them, they’ll actually find that they pick up the language very quickly.

How can I learn in this way?

Read more

Which language to learn?

There are many reasons to learn a language. If you fall in love with a person whose mother tongue is different from yours, that’s a powerful reason to learn their language.

And there are lots of other reasons why you may want to learn a particular language.

But if you’re wondering which language to learn, things are probably not so clear cut for you.

Quite likely, you’re wondering which language is going to be most helpful for your career.

Can language learning benefit your career?

Read more