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This time last year, I was sick in bed. Too weak to move. Yet I was happy.
Because bed-bound, I would going to my favorite language learning conference.
The conference, Women in Language, is hosted online. So I could attend from the comfort of my bedroom.
While sipping hot water, I listened to the secrets of female polyglots from around the world. What I heard during four days of talks and discussion transformed the way I learn languages.
The Women in Language conference has a line-up of over 25 female polyglots sharing their experience and insight into language learning over a four-day event of online workshops.
I even made friends with a lovely group of attendees (male, non-binary, female – everyone’s invited!).
Now I’d like to share what I learned and why I recommend it.
Full disclosure: I’m actually speaking at this year’s Women in Language conference, so while I’m sharing my honest opinion and experience of the event, you should probably be aware that I am proudly biased!
What I Learned at Women in Language
Attending the Women in Language conference shifted my perspective on language learning.
I learned more useful stuff about language learning at this conference than in a full semester of my university Russian. I can honestly say that it changed the way I learn languages, forever.
Thanks to Women in Language, I picked up methods for language learning that I use daily. Here are three of the most important things I learned at the conference:
How to Use Social Media to Connect With Other Language Learners Online
Elfin Waters’ talk gave step-by-step instructions on how to construct a French Insta-World. I followed the process she outlined, and a whole new world of online language learners was opened up to me
Before I attended this talk, language learning felt pretty lonely. I wanted to connect to people through languages, and sometimes I did. But now I do it daily! I now have a tribe of cool, passionate friends that are learning right alongside of me.
These are friends who inspire me, support me, and pick me up when I need a little extra help.
I loved this talk so much that I wrote an article about my results.
How to Expand My Vocabulary by Reading Books I Enjoy
This was a wildcard choice for me. I’m not a fan of somber literature. And the title of the talk was “How to Kill it with Crime Fiction”.
Even so, I went along with an open mind and I’m glad I did. The discussion gave me takeaways about learning through reading what you love, that I still use to this day.
A few light bulbs turned on when the speaker, Dani Maizner, explained how she reads books in her target language by the same author. It helps her become familiar with that author’s voice.
As a result of her lecture, I am working my way through Marc Levy’s books, in French. His language is contemporary and I’m picking up conversational phrases with ease.
Many of my French friends have already read him. He’s a big deal in their culture which means BONUS! We have a common topic to discuss.
How to Be Kinder to Myself During My French Learning Marathon
The title of this talk by Irina Pravet, “The power of compassion and intuition in language learning”, tugged on my hippy heart strings.
It sounds soft and fuzzy but it’s actually an essential part of successful language learning.
Around three months after I started learning French, a bunch of my self-doubt demons woke up and got to work. “You’ll never learn a language. You’ve already failed 10 times. Stop embarrassing yourself.” I had to use every self-development tool I had gathered throughout my lifetime to keep them at bay. I’ve now been learning French for close to two years, and am at intermediate level.
Irina’s talk helped me realize that I am not alone in this struggle. She reminded me of the Buddhist principle of common humanity. Everyone suffers. You’re not alone in this.
That piece brought me back to my own inner strength. I have the ability and willingness to share my weaknesses with others as well as my workarounds. Irina’s talk revived that strength for me.
These are just three talks off the top of my head. I can’t wait to see what this year’s conference opens for me.
The list of captivating discussions goes on and on. You can see what talks they have in store here. If you scroll down, you’ll see a list of speakers and topics. If you continue to scroll down the list of lectures, you’ll even see me (Elizabeth Brucker) listed as a speaker!
What Exactly Is Women in Language?
Lindsay Williams, one of the Women in Language founders, puts it best in a blog post she wrote describing the very first event.
Women In Language is a unique online event designed to champion, celebrate, and amplify the voices of women in language learning.
…an inspiring all female lineup of over 25 speakers who are experts from all walks of language life: polyglots, industry veterans, full-time world travellers, teaching experts, academic professors, and innovators.
When and Where is Women in Language? Same Time Each Year. You Pick the Place.
Women in Language in language takes place each year around International Women’s Day which is celebrated on March 8th. And don’t worry about your work schedule or your sister-in-law’s baby shower conflicting with the event. All talks are recorded.
When you buy your ticket, you get lifetime access to the event. It’s your very own Netflix for language learning. How cool is that?! The only catch is that you must purchase before the event ends. Otherwise, you’ll miss your chance.
As an introvert that prefers quiet places, this online conference was perfect for my highly sensitive self. Say goodbye to uncomfortable chairs and headachy fluorescent lighting.
It is the coziest, most welcoming educational conference I’ve ever attended. Because you can choose where you sit while you’re attending.
Where is takes place is up to you. I’ve seen Instagram pics of people watching in their living rooms, at the office, in a coffeehouse. The sky's the limit. Just be careful if you go to the beach. Laptops do not like sand.
Who Runs the Women in Language Conference?
I will answer that with a riddle.
What speaks over 20 languages, has three heads, three bodies and three language blogs?
That would be the Women in Language trio aka (in my imagination) the three polyglotteers!
Kerstin is the charming host of The Fluent Show. She’s smart, funny and knows how to pick up her tired, weary listeners and pump them full of inspiration.
Shannon is a globe-trotting musician known for her captivating photography and varied linguistic adventures. As Add1 head coach, she helps people speak their target language in as little as 90 days. I’m doing the Add1 now and I find that her wisdom well runs deep.
Speaking of traveling, Lindsay finished up her yearlong trip to –get this– 20+ countries! She created language documentaries based on many of her personal discoveries. I found her Language Stories video about the Hmong language to be an enthralling treat.
These three polyglots decided to put together an event highlighting female language learners. It started out as a one day event. But they had found too many amazing speakers for just one day. So, they expanded it to a four-day language learning extravaganza.
The Women in Language Chatroom
While the speaker discusses her topic, the chatroom bubbles over with ideas. It’s fascinating to learn tips and tools from both the speaker and the attendees. Some of my favorite moments were the live question and answer sessions at the end of each chat.
I’m still buddies with many passionate learners that I met in the conference chatroom. And the best part was I didn’t even need to brush down my gnarly bedhead. It was a worldwide language learning PJ party!
I’m Speaking at Women in Language This Year: See Me Live for One Hour Only!
If you buy a ticket to this year’s event, you can watch me live! You can also see me recorded but that’s not something you put in a subheading. Now, is it?
I’ll be giving a presentation on how to master the art of language exchange. It’s the first time I’ll be speaking about language learning. Usually it’s all things acupuncture.
Don’t worry. I promise to stick to the point. Ohhhh, bad dad/acupuncturist joke! Sorry about that. I couldn’t help myself.
Many of my language learning friends will be right there with me. Some of my Add1 buddies have already signed up. It really is more fun with friends. The great part though is that it’ll take about two minutes to make friends if you don’t know anyone.
So, come on in! The water’s fine.
The Women in Language conference has over 25 speakers this year. That’s over 25 different voices helping us navigate the sometimes bumpy, often beautiful road to fluency. That’s a whole lotta language loving going on.
Everyone is Welcome
Although all the speakers are women, the audience is varied. Everyone is welcome to join the event. Diversity in the chatroom gives the joint some flavor!
During each event , ten percent of the proceeds are donated to charity. If you go to Shannon’s instagram account, she posted a video about the Women in Language KIVA fund and all the countries that it’s touched. Your attendance is not only helps you. It helps others.
Get Your Tickets Now!
Click here to sign up for the Women in Language conference. Tickets are reasonably priced.
Why on earth are you still reading this? Go sign up. You can come back and thank me later in the comments. 😉
Handing the Mic to You
It’s your turn. Have you been to Women in Language? How was it for you? Please share in the comments below.
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.