3 Tips for Learning Spanish With FSI Spanish (Foreign Service Institute)

In this article I am going to give you some tips or secrets on learning Spanish With FSI Spanish (Foreign Service Institute). By following these 3 tips or secrets to learning FSI Spanish, you will find that the course is lot more effective and enjoyable.

1. Review the lessons between 4 to 5 times

If you are using the FSI system, then you are already aware of the fact that the FSI method includes a textbook and CDs.

Many students complain that the FSI method is not effective and that the textbook is very tedious to read. If you are finding that the FSI method is ineffective, that may be because you are only doing each lesson one time. Many students make this mistake when they first start learning Spanish with FSI.

One of my students told me that he stumbled upon this secret when he did not have the money to purchase any other Spanish language courses to continue his self-education. And instead letting his learning of the Spanish language come to a complete halt, he went back and reviewed both the FSI textbook and audio over and over again. That’s when he realized the secret to learning with the Foreign Service Institute system was to review the lessons over and over again instead of only covering each lesson one time.

2. Use the audio by itself when commuting or doing other activities

After you have gone through the lessons 4 to 5 times with both the textbook and audio, listen to the CDs while driving. Alternatively, you can put the audio on your MP3 player or your Ipod and listen to the lessons while you out taking a walk, waiting online in the supermarket, waiting at the dentist’s office, etc. By following this advice, you will notice that the material is reinforced in your memory and that your listening comprehension has significantly improved.

3. Supplement your studies

As good as the FSI method is, it is not perfect. The FSI method teaches relatively formal or academic Spanish that the Institute has used to teach diplomats and other government personnel. If you want to learn how to speak the language more casually you should supplement your FSI studies with a more informal course such as Learn Conversational Spanish Now or Learning Spanish Like Crazy (LSLC). LSLC includes downloadable re-mastered copies of FSI Spanish Levels 1 to 4 with your copy of LSLC Level 1.

In summary, the FSI method can be very effective providing that you practice each lesson numerous times before moving on to the next lesson, listen to the audio repeatedly while performing other activities, and supplement your learning with an informal course.

Beyond Volunteerism – Community Service Ideas For College Students

As a college student who’s dedicated to making the most out of your education, the last thing that you feel like doing on summer break is pursuing more education. After a semester of doing more studying and attending less parties than you anticipated, spending May through August palling around with friends, vacationing and visiting nightspots is the reasonable thing to do. But what if you could spend the summer having fun while pursuing non-academic education. If you’re interested but you’re wondering how much summer fun you’ll have; rest assured, we’re not talking about something that requires study; we’re talking about something that could boost your resume while bringing more excitement to your summer than bar hopping or hitting the beach: performing community service.

At this point, you’re probably wondering how volunteer work could be as fun as how you spent last summer. But we’re not talking about volunteering at a food pantry; we’re talking about community service ideas that will keep you engaged and still allow you to celebrate summer. In addition to needing volunteers in the service areas like food distribution, prepared meals, health care, etc., community service organizations also need volunteers in service areas and geographic locations that aren’t commonly associated with volunteer work. To explain what we mean; below, we list two big ways that service work could make your summer far more interesting than if you didn’t perform it.

Incredible Vacation Opportunities

If you contact a well connected community service organization, you’ll find that there’s a need for service projects and service workers all over the globe, and the news gets better: instead of having to pay thousands of dollars in airfare and travel accommodations, you can get most if not all of your travel costs covered by organizations that donate to worldwide service projects. In addition, you can also start your own fundraising campaign and achieve success by contacting a list of resources provided by a service organization. Have you ever wanted to travel somewhere that’s off the beaten tourist path? By searching out service needs and projects in the country of your choice, chances are that you can take a supremely original vacation for very little money.

Incredible Career Opportunities

Without a degree, you’ll find it hard to get meaningful experience in your field; and without meaningful experience, you’ll find it hard to get a job in your field. While many students think that having a degree means that they’ll get hired after graduation, that’s simply not the case. Employers want experience, and not low-level experience. So, what’s a sophomore or junior to do? If you take advantage of the right volunteer opportunities, you can volunteer for projects that let you use your education in a pivotal role. Offering your time and talents for free means that you won’t be competing for a paid position, which means that you’ll have little competition in the first place.

What Is Your Customer Service Worth?

Customer service is not always on our minds as leaders. It’s often seen as a cost, and little else.

What’s the purpose of customer service? You might think, to fix problems. With that mindset, it doesn’t make sense to invest much in it.

The thing is, it’s a little more complicated. Here are 7 purposes of customer service:

  1. To answer questions
  2. Yes, to solve problems
  3. To educate your customers
  4. Even better, to learn from your customers
  5. To improve their experience of your company
  6. To strengthen your relationship with your customer through empathy and care
  7. To give your company another opportunity to have the desired impact.

These 7 purposes start to shift your perspective.

You can reduce your costs by designing a better product or service. By doing a stellar job at education in your manual, online, or in a video.

You can enhance your customer service ROI by learning from your customers so that you can do all these things better: design, execution, education, relationships, and impact.

When someone makes the effort to call or email your company, your customer is giving you a second chance.

Your customer service staff have the opportunity to not only make it better, to build your relationship, and to decide to refer you or to buy again. These members of your team can make the difference between whether your company has its intended impact or not.

That’s worth the investment.

Confusion about what you want to achieve and what it costs helps no one.

If you engage with customers, be clear about what it’s worth to your company, what it is you want to achieve, and what it costs. Then decide and do that.

Don’t Give Lip Service to Customer Education

The information age has brought about additional expectations of consumers. They want information and they want it on their time table, day or night, 24/7. I ask you; is your business delivering on this new demand? You must not give lip service to customer education and information. Today, your clientele wants to be able to access your company’s website and find exactly the information that they are looking for within a few clicks

Your website must be easy to navigate and have answers to the questions folks ask most. There should be in depth information that is downloadable as well. Corporate Communication and Small Business Blogs allow your customers to interact with you on a more personal basis. Should this be part of your new marketing strategy? Yes, absolutely, but you must realize that high pressure sales tactics have no place.

So, how can you take a stand for your customer, tell them you care, give them the information they desire without looking trite or merely going through the paces? Well, it will not be easy and as you might have guessed if you do not make it sincere, you may as well skip it, because your customers will know it is only lip service.

You must have a button on your home page labeled; Information. If your company becomes a source of information to consumers, clients and your future customers your message will outpace your competition in the market place. You must remember that we are in the information age and you have to realize that, deal with it and run towards it, not away from it. Please, Don’t Give Lip Service to Customer Education.

The Aspiration To Publish All Public Service Data Must Be Balanced

The publication of open data is not resource free, the aspiration to publish all public service data must be balanced by the resources needed to publish/sustain such data and a genuine benefit to the public. There needs to be a clear recognition that it will take some time and cost to deliver.

It is important to recognize that the publication of open data is not the only tool to deliver greater transparency and accountability in public services. A valuable addition though it may be, it should not become a substitute for existing democratic scrutiny and governance arrangements. Our experience of open data publication to date has been that any associated scrutiny has, at best, been superficial and at worst, unnecessarily confrontational and destructive. Reliance on open data publication alone, without proper contextual information and in-depth analysis has the potential danger of undermining the democratic process, unless proper controls are in place.

The notion that the greater publication of open data may be in the business and strategic interest of public service organizations has been underplayed; substituted by a presumption that some form of regulatory compulsion is necessary to ensure that this happens at all. The examples of local authorities demonstrate that progressive public service organizations are willing to progress towards greater transparency of their own volition.

There are data sets where a charge has been made for data in order to cover the costs of collecting and providing that data. There is a danger that the effect of removing the ability to charge in these cases either results in genuine hardship (particularly for smaller public service organizations) or the ceasing of the collection of that data as it is no longer viable. This loss of revenue could have a significant impact on organizations during a time when other funding sources are being cut. There appears to be a misconception that a significant number of Freedom of Information requests are for data sets. Although data sets are requested by some areas of the media and lobby groups, the vast number of FOI requests are for answers to specific questions. There is a clear distinction between the wishes of special interest groups and the media for sets of data and the general public who are asking for useful, meaningful information.

We welcome however the emphasis on the publication of new data. We welcome the commitment to provide greater guidance on assessing the balance between costs and benefits of publishing particular data sets, however we would suggest that it is linked to the existing public interest tests required within the FOI Act regarding the use of exemptions, in order to ensure that any guidance and the requirements of the Act are in harmony. There should also be a recognition that public service organizations should take into consideration the need for future open data publication when making future IT investments to ensure that systems and infrastructure are geared towards efficient publication.

There are genuine concerns that although personal data may have been removed from particular data sets, that through the aggregation of a number of datasets personal data may be revealed. Although the guidance issued on redacting personal information in FOI requests is helpful in this area, it would welcome more detailed work and clearer guidance on this issue to protect the public. Any proposed requirement, should take into consideration the resources available to undertake publication and the reasonable time that organizations may have to take to achieve this, to ensure that local priorities for front line services are not compromised.

The current time limits within the FOI Act provide a sufficient balance between the benefit to the public of receiving the requested information and the cost to the public purse of collating and providing that information. We do not believe that a higher cost limit for datasets is practical or proportionate. Our experience to date has been that in the few instances where datasets are requested as part of FOI requests, either we do not collect that particular set of information at all, or it does not hold it to the level of granularity requested. There should not be a mechanism that forces local authorities to create data sets by default as a result of individual questions. We do not believe that any additional cost burdens on public authorities are appropriate at this time.

It is essential that consideration of the cost burden of publishing a particular dataset is a fundamental part of the decision whether to publish, and that this decision should ultimately remain in the hands of locally elected officials. It does not believe that the proactive publication of datasets be made mandatory. It believes the decision of what to publish and when is best made locally, to meet the needs of the local electorate.

Additional costs of producing datasets being made by the requestor should not be allowed to distract a public service organization from publishing other, more useful data. Therefore there would need to be consideration of the best use of the resources available, and that decision should rest ultimately with the public service organization concerned. It is clear that the confrontational and sensationalist style of some of the media is in itself a barrier to the greater acceptance of open data publication. There needs to be a greater awareness of the real benefits, this means greater persuasion, greater awareness raising rather than the introduction of additional regulatory burdens and an imposition of a “blame culture”. Current systems used for collection and storage of data were not designed or implemented with publication of data in mind, and therefore considerable work may need to be commissioned not only to improve the reporting capabilities of the system but also changes to business practices to ensure that the right information is collected. Proper safeguards need to be in place to ensure that the appropriate balance is in place regarding the cost of collecting/publishing the data and the actual benefit to the public at large.