I’m writing this to give you guys plenty of time to react: October is a big month for language shows in Europe. I know I’m going to at least one – if you’re not sure yet, read on to find out what you can count on!
1. The Polyglot Party: What Is a Language Show?
I wrote about international conferences before, arguing that these are amazing opportunities for language learning. Now, language shows are a bit different: the language industry has become really profitable, and the language shows are primarily a chance for different companies to show off their learning or teaching solutions.
But apart from stands, stalls and presentations, what makes language shows so cool is the obvious ingredient: people! Imagine all those language learners – keen enough to make their way to a show, dedicated enough to walk around and find out more about the subject of their choice. These are the people you want to hang out with, if you’re serious about learning languages well!
2. A Whole Lot of Nothing – Or, Are Language Shows Worth It?
Now, for the cynical view.
Language schools, publishing houses, e-learning providers and translation companies – they all know you’re coming. And they know you’re interested. So your goal may be to find inspiration and new ideas – and their mission is to convince you that you need just what they’ve got.
This may well be true – companies that make it to language shows are usually showing off some amazing stuff. But if you’re not careful, you’re going to end up spending lots of time (and money) on things that don’t bring you closer to your goal.
3. Smart About Shows: How to Make Them Work For You
If you’re going to a language show, here’s a handful of ideas worth considering. They will make your experience more fruitful and pleasant – but, as always, this is not a definitive list: please feel free to add more stuff in the comments!
– Get good shoes. Yes, really! You don’t want aching feet to ruin the awesome moments – and wouldn’t it be a shame if you missed that one amazing workshop because your shoes made you come home earlier?
– Do your homework. Language shows are massive, and probably filled with things and languages you’re not really keen on. Research the list of presenters, workshops and exhibitors. Google them and visit their websites. Write down any questions you want to ask!
– Avoid the irrelevant. It’s OK to focus on what you want – so it’s also OK to refuse to get involved in things you don’t need. Everyone around you is really looking for the same thing: they want to talk to people who share their interests and passions. So if you politely, but firmly interrupt an exhibitor’s speech, saying that it’s not what you were looking for – you’re actually allowing her to move on to the next person, and helping everybody along.
– Network like crazy. You are surrounded by language nerds. These are the people who live, work and think around foreign languages. These people would rather be here than anywhere else. You don’t need to like them, but you should probably respect them and get inspired.
Guys, I hope this was helpful. Two language shows I’m thinking about are:
Language Show Live, London, and
I’ll be on the London Show for sure – come by and say hello! And if you know of any more shows like these, do let us know.
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