MY Favorite Memories at LanguageSitter®

​From attending meetings to participating in language trainings to joining the team for lunch every day, each of my experiences at LanguageSitter® has been incredibly rewarding. I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to leave my home in the United States to spend six weeks in Slovenia, but this choice has proven to be one of the best I’ve ever made. My time at LanguageSitter® has been full of laughs and learning, but there are a few memories that stand out the most. Whether or not you followed my vlogs during my time here, I want to share a little more about what I’ve seen, done, and enjoyed at LanguageSitter®.
Špela, Claire, and Ana

Špela and Ana are making me do a duck face on top of the Ljubljana Castle.
​Before I begin, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Claire Staresinic, and I am a pre-medical student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m majoring in psychology and German. I’m highly involved in student government, play the oboe, and enjoy reading and drawing in my spare time. My curiosity about business and entrepreneurship, passion for foreign languages, and desire to reconnect with my Slovenian heritage brought me here to LanguageSitter® through AmCham’s European Experience in the Green Heart of Europe program. With my introduction out of the way, I am now pleased to share my favorite memories at LanguageSitter® with you. 

Imam fanta v hladilniku???

​It wouldn’t make any sense to spend three weeks at a Slovenian language school without learning any Slovene! Therefore, my day always began with “Morning Language Bootcamp,” a half-hour Slovene lesson with either Deana or Špela. These lessons allowed me to experience a taste of the LanguageSitter® method and to offer my brain the welcome challenge of learning another language. Being able to introduce myself, ask questions, and even pronounce “stranišče” (a real challenge for native English-speakers!) helped me connect with both my new friends in Slovenia and my Starešinič ancestors. 
Claire and Špela

Špela is introducing me to Slovenian culinary specialities at the Open Kitchen street food fest and we are having special cocktails from a bag (non-alcoholic – of course!).
​One of the most useful phrases I learned is “imam fanta,” which means “I have a boyfriend.” However, “Fanta” is also the name of my favorite fizzy orange beverage, so I realized that saying “Imam fanta v hladilniku” (“I have Fanta in the refrigerator”) may actually imply that I keep my significant other in the fridge! Discovering these funny little nuances is my favorite aspect of learning a new language but laughing about this one with Deana and Špela made this discovery extra special. 

Nice to Meet You, I Sell Toilets!

​After completing LanguageSitter® training and performing my own demo lesson, I had the honor of joining Tanja Višnar at one of her sessions as an honorary LanguageSitter®. We traveled to Trzin where we met with a Slovenian marketing specialist hoping to improve his English. To help him speak confidently while keeping the complicated grammatical rules of English in mind, we challenged him to describe concepts like “love” and “family” as simply and as elaborately as possible in 30 seconds or less. Tanja and I participated in the challenge too, which allowed us to form a stronger connection with our client. 
As much as I enjoyed teaching alongside Tanja, my favorite aspect of the lesson was leading part of it by myself. The client and I role-played a meeting where I needed his help to market a product. I wanted to pick something silly and fun, so I sat down and announced, “I sell toilets! Can you help me sell my toilets?” Mind you, these aren’t any old toilets. They’re luxury, Japanese-style toilets. We had a great laugh, and the client really impressed me with his command of English. I had a hard time finding major mistakes, but I was still able to share new vocabulary and grammatical tips with him. Being able to fully participate in LanguageSitter®’s core service was an incredibly rewarding experience.

Eureka! Finding a Possible Solution to Foreign Language Anxiety

During my first two weeks at LanguageSitter®, I researched and planned a presentation on anxieties that arise when learning a foreign language and how they can be alleviated. I discovered that incorporating self-assessment activities into foreign language learning can help boost a client’s self-esteem and improve his or her overall experience. This project allowed me to explore my personal interest in psychology as well as find information that could help the company. 
​Presenting my research at the LanguageSitter® meetings, which are LanguageSitter®’s internal monthly training sessions for teachers, was one of my proudest moments here, and I am so grateful for that privilege. I was delighted to be able to provide something useful to the company while embracing an opportunity to improve my researching and public speaking skills. It was really empowering to see the LanguageSitters® come together to discuss how they can improve their teaching, and I cherished being a part of it. I hope LanguageSitter® will find using self-assessment activities beneficial and can be better equipped to tackle foreign language anxiety. 

Trieste: Two Hugos for You!

My first trip to Slovenia also included my first trip to Italy! The office decided to take a day off to travel with me to Trieste on the 4th of July to celebrate the American holiday with their favorite American (me). We had coffee and breakfast at a café on the water then enjoyed Hugos with complementary tiny sandwiches in the city square. We also received complementary potato chips, and I think I ate 90% of them… 
Mart, Špela, Claire, and Deana

While Mart is taking a group selfie and Špela and Deana are posing, I am thinking about how good the Hugo is and how lucky I am to be doing this instead of spending the day at the office.
​Then I was lucky enough to experience every girl’s dream come true: shopping in Italy! Our trip ended with gelato and a stroll along the canal. I can’t express how lucky I felt to be treated to such a special day, and it made me feel even more fortunate to be spending time at LanguageSitter®. 
Claire Staresinic

Perfect ending to a perfect trip to Italy.
​These were just the highlights of my time here, but every day has brought great memories and positive experiences. If you haven’t yet, I invite you to watch my vlog to learn more about what I’ve been up to at LanguageSitter®. I’d like to give one more huge thank-you to Mart, Deana, Špela, and Ana for welcoming me to their company, teaching me so much about their business and what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and fostering my personal growth. Hvala!  


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