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Past Smalltalk When Traveling

Hi Sebastian,

This is first time actually contacting you, or anybody through blog for that matter. But you make it almost too easy(you must be bombarded with e-mail, good luck!).

I'm interested to know your strategy or preference on maximizing meaningful conversations abroad or even back home. I mean do you have any particular tactic or is it mostly random. Any public places or events that stir up conversations with strangers, any small talk lines or questions(etc. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?) that lead to insight and good conversation.

I'm from Finland and I'm going to travel a bit in asia(Okinawa, Seoul, Katmandu, Bhutan) and I find conversations as the best way to learn and experience different cultures. It would be such a waste to do it randomly if it there's is a way to do it most efficient way.

If you have any book recommendations, please make them available in amazon.co.uk with your affiliate id I would be happy to support you somehow.

Learn to Use a Language, not Translate it

On Radical Reader Chinese

I have a second grader who I tutor every Tuesday and Thursday, and his level of English is lower than the other kids who I teach in conventional class time elsewhere. I've noticed one important thing about our sessions. That is, when I cover up the Chinese characters that accompany his learning materials, he is lost.

When I ask him what his name is, who he is, how old he is, and really any other very low level question he sits for a second saying 'um' and then asks me for a translation.

However, in my class time I find ways to get my students to understand what I'm saying without translating for them. These kids seem to have the concepts stick far better than this particular tutee. Another important factor that I think is defining is these students' learning materials have no Chinese on the page, unlike my tutee whose book has characters under each line of English text. 

What is it that defines the difference between my students?

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