At Luxembourg Expats Network Featured Story Series’, today we are speaking to Jacob, founder of the online language institute On-Lang.
Every entrepreneur's journey is filled with hope and opportunities and struggles and turbulence. By speaking, we not only highlight the journey of an entrepreneur, but we also hope this would be an inspiration for many. Without further ado, let’s jump right-in to our discussions with Jacob.
Welcome to LuxExpats FSS, Jacob, let’s have a brief introduction about yourself:
My name is Jakub. I am a language teacher with 10+ years of experience. Married to another great education specialist Eveline, who works as methodologist in our school – On-lang. We come from Poland, both worked as freelance teachers there, and at the beginning of 2021 we founded On-lang language school in Bitburg, Germany
What's your Bitburg story? What brought you to Bitburg, and how has life in Bitburg been?
We visited this area a couple of years ago. Our friends invited us. Once we’ve seen Bitburg, Trier, Eifel region, and Luxembourg of course, we thought that it might be a good place to live. Long story short, after just a few years we had a chance and we took it.
Life in Bitburg is calm. People are very friendly and helpful, what we as newcomers appreciate a lot.
What's your entrepreneurial journey? How did you get started with On-lang, the online language school?
It started several years ago. After an adventure as a corporate employee I decided to pursue a career as a freelancer. I wanted to be able to have more influence on how my work, and life looked like. That’s how my company started to exist. For a couple of years I cooperated with various language schools, and managed to build a list of private clients.
When we were planning to move to Germany, it was an obvious choice to pursue
the teaching career. After analyzing the options, we decided to launch a
company – On-lang language school, get some of our friends, who are fantastic
educators on board and start building our future.
What services do you offer? Who are your target audience?
We want to help everyone who wants to learn a foreign language. We offer various learning schemes. One can learn solo, with a friend, or in a group. We are also interested in reaching companies where workers need to improve their communication skills in non-native languages.
Having employees who speak a couple of languages fluently and are not scared of using them can really push a business forward, and we have already cooperated with different companies in that area.
What are you most proud of in On-lang?
I am super proud of being able to have fantastic people on board. We chose our teachers carefully and cooperate only with those, who have the same vision as we do to help people break language barriers. I am very thankful for their support.
The other thing I am proud of is that from this school-year we were able to offer job-contracts to some of our teachers. Though it is not the first choice of many schools, that usually employ freelancers only, we are happy to make a step forward and to make the job more stable for both our educators and ourselves.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I used to be a freelance photographer and that is still somewhere in my heart. I love visiting new places with my camera and taking photos. It helps to get a better, more
detail-oriented perspective of a place one visits. That’s how it works for me at least 😊
What's your favorite spot in Luxembourg?
Though I am relatively fresh in here, I can name a couple of spots I definitely love. From the city of Luxembourg I definitely fell in love with the Adolphe Bridge. Having a walk with the view is a breath-taking experience. It is also a perfect place to get
away for a moment to be alone with ones thoughts sipping a good take-away
coffee of course.
What's your top 3-recommendations for a new comer in learning new language?
1. Surround yourself with the new language. Change language in your video games, phone system, Netflix default settings etc. Try to manage and don’t give up if it feels a bit upsetting or tiering at first.
2. Get professional help of a qualified teacher who can coach you through your language process. Even the best self-learning sportsmen need an assistance of a coach at some point. The same goes for the language skills, it really helps to have a professional teacher who cares about you, and your progress. Every student deserves a champion 😊
3. Go out there and use what you learn. Whenever it is possible for you, use the language you are learning. When you feel you are misunderstood, that’s why we have our hands and mimics, use them if you fail to find a word needed at the moment. The feeling of accomplishment when you manage to have a simple conversation in a language you are learning is an amazing motivator.
What's your favorite quote?
My favorite quote comes from one of my favorite TedTalks. It was given by a great educator Rita Pierson, who said: “Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”
In On-lang, we believe that every our student, young or older deserves a
What methods do you use teaching your students?
We use a variety of teaching methods. Starting from Montessori/Multi-sensory methods for kids, through The Natural Approach, CLT (Communicative language learning), to our favorite – the Immersion method for adults.
Actually what we like to do most is to tailor a mixture of various methods to our students. We definitely try to conduct our lessons completely in the target language as soon as it is possible. We also want to give our students the possibility to enjoy communication as early as possible in their learning process – hence the focus on very practical, and useful skills.
What would you say would be the recommendations of people who want to start their own business today?
1. The beginnings are never easy, so don’t give up to quickly.
2. Though you may often feel like this – don’t do everything by yourself. Try to get a support and to delegate tasks as soon as possible.
3. Gather positive people around you, and talk to them often to gain motivation
to go on.
Last, but not least, if you are not one yourself, find a good support of a tax advisor. I am very happy to have a support of Jegen Steuerberatungsgesellschaft GmbH from Bitburg, that provides fantastic support.
Hope you enjoyed learning about Jacob and his family's entrepreneurial experience, which he has shared in a beautiful way. Are you learning a new language? check out On-lang and support local businesses in the greater region: luxembourgexpats.lu/local-business/books-languages-learning-and-training/1100001050
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