One of the advantages mentioned by most members of ICAN Club in comparison with conventional English learning courses is the ability not only to improve English and communication skills, but also to meet and communicate with successful people of different walks of life.
Now, look at who come to our English speaking Club:
1. Svetlana, a business analyst
Svetlana has worked her way up from a software developer to the position of a business analyst (BA) in IT. What does a BA do? According to Svetlana, a BA must be able to understand the customer, who is not always able to communicate the request, do needs analysis, convert the customer’s needs into technical solutions, assess the costs and estimate the price. All these have to be bundled into a legal document, negotiated, agreed upon and signed by the contractor and the customer. In short: a BA is a kind of a bridge between a customer and a IT company, a sort of a mediator, communication channel that converts the needs of a customer into technical terms of IT geeks.
What education and skills are needed to become a BA? Obviously, it’s strong analytical skills, logical thinking, awareness of possible IT and business solutions, and, last but not least, outstanding verbal and communication skills. Oh, it’s a tough job, really…
2. Art, a businessman
Art has been helping his parents to run their family business for over 12 years, and now, having earned a degree in Economy from a university in the Czech Republic, he is trying to get the business to the next level. According to Art, being professional in whatever you are doing is a key to success in any business. He also mentioned the importance of strong communication skills, being able to explain your ideas, convince and lead people. He emphasized the importance of networking, which allows to scale up the business and increase profits through the economies of scale. It can be added that Art is a person who does what he preaches. If you visit his Facebook page, you will see how many friends he has.
3. Kate, a freelance interpreter, and also an aspiring writer and photographer
Kate was sharing her experiences working as an ESP teacher for an IT company and as a translator.
After about a year of teaching she arrived at the conclusion that having a proper command of English does not guarantee the ability to teach. Well, I wish pre-service teachers heard this. How easily some of them skip classes of methodology and theoretical linguistic disciplines! And then, facing students in the classroom, feel miserable and helpless, blame the school, the system, students, and prepare to quit carrying the feeling of bitter disappointment.
The job of a translator has other challenges. Kate artistically presented the pains of looking for equivalents. According to Kate, making a good translation is possible only if you study the subject matter, understand what stands behind the technical terms and are able to express that in a natural manner in the target language.
Well, yes, that’s the right approach to translation, and those who what to get into this profession should be aware that translation goes far beyond words and should be prepared for non-stop learning.
4. Valentina, an ESP teacher, interpreter and translator, the founder of ICAN Club
Valentina was speaking about teaching too, but her experiences have been different. She idea is that a teacher ought to know not only the subject matter, in her case it is English and methods of teaching it, but also be aware of what is going on beyond the four walls of the classroom. Being exposed to business, international cooperation, understanding technology and global trends are indispensable for a teacher. In terms of teaching English, cross-cultural communication, awareness and respect of other cultures, ability to find win-win solutions are the key objectives, and they reduce hatred and pave a way to peace. This is why Valentina has initiated the Colorful World Project, where people from every country can tell the world about their way of living, values and aspirations, and thus destroy stereotypes and xenophobic attitudes.
5. Alexander, a telecommunication systems engineer and also a filmmaker and a portrait photographer
Alexander destroyed our stereotypes about a
n IT professional. Unfortunately, IT guys are often unkindly pictured as geeks, while if fact they are smart and more successful than a lot of those who mock at them. IT professionals have to know science, business, be consistent, disciplined and responsible, because today in our digital world we all depend on the reliability of the systems they create and maintain.
It’s a common misconception to think that IT guys deals only with technology. In case of Alexander, his job as an IT engineer involves a good deal of communication with customers, who need support and guidance when using the system. And this is where Alexander’s extrovert humanitarian personality comes to help.
Actually, his competence in IT enables him to use a variety of gizmos for photography and filmmaking, and his networking with people makes him a better technical support officer.
6. Darya, an internal auditor
Most of us have heard the scary word “auditor”, but what does an internal auditor do? Well, according to Darya, internal auditors are liaisons between the owners of a business, usually shareholders, and the personnel. They make sure that the organization works towards the goals assigned by the owners, which means they must understand the tasks and what people at different levels are doing and to check if they match. To say that it is a challenging job is to say nothing. Just imagine that every time the internal auditors must inspect a new division. This means that before going there they have to understand everything about that division, and get to such level of competence as to be able to assess the work of that division. Event thinking about these challenges makes a person sick. It’s a job that requires a non-stop learning, outstanding communication skills and a good deal of diplomacy.
The great thing about this job is that the certificate is internationally recognized, and once you have been certified as an internal auditor, you can apply for a job in any country.
7. Maral, an HR specialist in hospitality business, also a coach
Maral told us about the challenges of working for prestigious hotels, where owners of the business have to come to terms with the personnel they enrol locally, who have no idea of the international level of service. This is where HR comes to help. They recruit the appropriate staff, do the training, act as cross-cultural mediators and do a lot of other work. Fluency in several languages as well as strong communication skills that rest on psychological education and positive and proactive thinking is a key to success.
8. Ina, a psychologist, a coach and also the TEDxNiamiha licence holder in Belarus
Having a great number of talents, occupations and skills, Ina chose to focus on her psychological service of providing career path advice to women. Why women? Because they are more inclined to sacrifice for the sake of their family, or yield to the demands, expectations and influences of others. But sooner or later the time comes for a woman to crave for self-fulfillment and the sense of accomplishment, and some of us find it challenging to discover our real self, and to have courage to admit and to accept our true wishes. If this happens, Ina renders assistance and helps her client find a way to herself. She draws what the woman explains – Ina is exceptionally good at sketchnoting - and the visualization helps the woman better understand her inner world. So, if you lost yourself, Ina is here to help you find the way back.
9. Natalya, a nuclear and radiation safety specialist
Natalya is one of those who keep the life and health of millions in their hands. They ensure safety of nuclear power plants and Natalya also teachers nuclear and radiation safety specialists. Yes, yes, we all are against nuclear power plants, but let us be realistic: there is a way to go to rentable energy, and humans are too spoilt to refrain from the comforts of the civilized life. So, we have a system of safeguards, who come to the sites to inspect the compliance with safety rules, and also make sure there is no proliferation of nuclear materials. The career path in this domain starts at the Internationa Sakharov Environmental Institute.
It was Natalya’s last session in ICAN Club, because she has eventually landed her dream job and is leaving. In my TV interview I said that my job is to help people fly to space. Natalya’s case is one more example of that. It took her several years to reach the required proficiency level in English, several years of persistent work and regular participation in the Club, but today we saw a competent public speaker and lecturer, fluent and accurate and also friendly, willing to share and explain. It’s sad that Natalya is leaving, but we are happy for her and wish her good luck at the new place.