"Nothing beats experiencing the magic of traveling or moving abroad, but Mynn can help you implement a bit of that magic into your everyday life."
-Leah Hamilton, Co-Founder
Many of us language learners dream about moving abroad to a country where another language is spoken. Walking through a new city to get our morning coffee and newspaper, while a whole other language and culture swarms the streets around us, is a reverie we all get lost in from time to time. Traveling is a fantastically individual experience, so much so that even if we all went to the exact same city to learn the exact same language, the way we would experience that location and the ways in which we would get exposure to that new language would be unique to each and every one of us. Traveling and learning something new is all about timing, choices, and personal interest.
I recently just returned from a trip to New York City, and while sharing my experiences with other family and friends who have also traveled to New York multiple times they report completely different things that they saw, places they ate, people they met, or things they learned while there than I did. Beyond this, I have visited New York over five times, and as I have aged and my interests have evolved, I have had a completely different experience and learned something totally different about the culture of New York every single time. With this example in mind, we know that traveling to new cultures is highly subjective, and the experience that we have is highly dependent on our own personal interests at the time.
By focusing on what you are interested in while planning a trip, you are able to stay excited, engaged and captivated by your activity. This is part of the magic of traveling; doing things that you love to do in a new culture. This being said, if your relationship and experience with cultures and languages is so personal, then how you learn about them online should be too.
As online platforms develop, it is not only the developers and designers of the platform that ‘curate’ the experience, but the users who tailor their online experience according to their personal interests. In terms of language learning, the learner is very rarely the curator. Traditionally, language learners have access to a set collection of resources, including vocabulary lists, grammar textbooks, and practice materials. This is true for both the physical language learning classroom and the online language learning tools that most of us are familiar with. However, when we travel to the country where the language we are learning is spoken, we without thinking ‘‘curate’ our experience. We choose which books to read, which museums to visit, which events to attend, and when we want to engage in a conversation with a native speaker.
It’s no wonder that language immersion trips and programs are so successful, it is in this context that you finally have complete control and freedom with how you learn and use your new language, tailoring the process to your needs. Learning something, or traveling somewhere new is not a one-size-fits-all scenario, and the sooner we apply this to language learning, the better.
We are developing Mynn in a way that evolves as other online platforms are, where the people using the platform can easily customize their experience so that every time they log on to learn, they are captivated by the process.
Personalizing your language learning process is an essential ingredient in finding a way to stay interested and motivated to learn. But as much as we are building Mynn so that you can customize your learning process to your preferences, we still need to be mindful of the fact that stepping out of your comfort zone to learn about topics that you do not naturally gravitate to, is also extremely essential to achieving language proficiency. Without exposure to a wide variety of topics you will leave noticeable gaps in your knowledge.
Apply this idea to how proficient you are in your own native language. Personally, you may not be that interested in automotive mechanics, but you can still carry on a general conversation at the car dealership when your car goes in for an oil change. You have to reach this level of comfortability in discussing things you may not be that interested in. The Mynn team is continuing to build and refine the immersion platform so that it is customized to both the things you are interested in (to help you stay motivated to learn), and to the things you are not interested in (to diversify your knowledge). Because even the things you are not interested in, is personal.