Hello from snowy Switzerland. My name’s Amy Jost and in the months of February and March, while most people here spend their free time watching the winter Olympics, skiing, snowshoeing or snowboarding, I’ll be your first global blogger. I’m not much of a winter sports fan, so that suits me (and I hope you) just fine.
Here’s a little information about me, my background, my interests, where I teach and my students.
I’m an American married to a German and mother of a multi-lingual 15 year old. My educational background is in Linguistics and I am a graduate from Indiana University. For any Americans out there, you’d call me a ‘Hoosier’, a native from the state of Indiana. Indiana and its cornfields are a long way from Switzerland, but I didn’t come directly here from the Midwest. I made two teaching and residency stops: first to Ueda, Japan, and then to Bavaria, Germany.
My studies, work and travels have helped me to understand the joys and the pitfalls of learning languages. I speak German, understand Swiss German (more on that below), spoke Japanese many moons ago, and pretend to speak Spanish and Italian whenever I can.
Switzerland is a small, rich country steeped in traditions of independence and neutrality with a unique political and linguistic landscape. It’s a fascinating place to live and to teach in. You have probably heard of Swiss cheeses, chocolates, banks, watches, mountains, and Roger Federer, but did you know there are 4 official languages recognized here? French, German, Italian and Romansch? My students, who generally speak at least one of those four languages and have the cultural perspective those languages bring, often share their opinions about local and global politics and the world around them in class which leads to lively debates, which I thoroughly enjoy.
My students consist primarily of adults who work in firms, where I give in-house lessons, and I teach them generally once a week for an hour or 90 minutes. They are eager to learn general or business English, many of them aiming to take an exam to certify their level of ability. I try to be empathetic to my students and am known to pitch the lesson plan and play games or have discussions if the need arises. Every day I learn something from my students in this fulfilling job! They are a delight to work with and the reason I am still teaching after 26 years.
Lifelong learning, whether it be languages, sports, or music is something I believe and participate in daily. Now it’s time for me to learn a new skill, blogging. It’s a real honor to be working on this project for Global and I hope we all learn from each other during my months at the helm. Please feel free to share your comments with me. Let the games begin!