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Jakub from On-Lang, the online language school in today's Featured Story Series

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 champion 😊 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:


ICT SPRING 2021: physical edition to reconnect to business

Press Release The international tech summit will take place next September 14-15, 2021 Next September 14th and 15th, more than 100 international experts will participate in a new edition of ICT Spring, the renowned tech summit. The event, organized since 2010, will take place at the European Convention Center Luxembourg, at the very heart of Europe: ICT Spring will therefore be the first largest in-person event of the year. Today, the organizers are announcing the various topics that will be discussed during the different summits, as well as the first experts who will share their knowledge and best practices, during what promises to be an exceptional edition. This year, ICT Spring will be organized in the frame of the “Digital ICT Week”, powered by the Chamber of Commerce Luxembourg, and is labelled as the main event of the week, as well as the first largest in-person event of the year to take place in Luxembourg. It will notably allow the audience to participate in matchmaking and targeted networking sessions, through the use of the Swapcard application. As usual, ICT Spring will consist in an exhibition area and startups’ village and insightful summits to tackle trendy topics. Conferences will be broadcasted live from Luxembourg, and will gather as many speakers as possible within the country, depending on health restrictions. Therefore, experts are welcomed to take part in ICT Spring both physically and digitally. Fintech Summit The combination of finance and technology has been discussed over the past decade, with Fintechs becoming key players and new trendsetters in the financial services industry. The first session, entitled “The Advent of a Cashless Society”, will focus on a myth that is about to become a reality: organizations are welcoming this new era and need to adapt their processes, by notably combining security, trust and transparency. Experts will then focus on “FundTech & Tokenization”: how will tokenization change the business and what are the latest technologies available for the funds industry to improve the customer experience? On the second day, they will explore the “Digital Banking over the World” topic. As banks struggle to improve customer experiences, the quest for personalized digital interactions continues. Finally, the summit will end with a session called “Fintech to favour Financial Inclusion”, as, nowadays, financial data-driven intelligence facilitates inclusive finance. Digital Summit More than ever, digital plays an important role in our daily lives, whether it is on the professional side with the use of innovative tools or on the personal one with new apps and services. The first session, focusing on how to “Reconcile Tech & Education”, will feature experts who will share their knowledge around the latest tech trends with a whiff of education and gender diversity. Then, experts will focus on “Digital Supply Chain”, in order to understand the biggest challenges of the supply chain and logistics sector. What are the impacts of digital and data management? How does it improve the value chain? How the e-commerce can enable a fast and easy access to goods? The day after, professionals will discuss “Digital Society” and how to shape the society of tomorrow through digital technology: building smarter cities, improving access to e-government, managing brands in a data-driven economy, etc. The session will end with a focus on “Digital Health”, with the use of new solutions to improve the healthcare industry and solutions linked to longevity. Space Forum Organized in parallel of ICT Spring since 2016, the Space Forum conference discusses the impact of space tech on Earth business such as mobility, IoT, connectivity, security, etc. The first morning session will be entitled “Powering Sustainable & Resilient Space Developments” and will focus on international cooperation and how science will contribute to build up a resilient ecosystem fueled with rapid technological developments. “Space Revival: Strengthening the Hi-Tech Ecosystem in Europe” will then be discussed: what are the new challenges that the space industry needs to take up? What is the position of Europe within the international framework: its assets and weaknesses? Can Europe be a key player? Finally, experts will share their “Views on the Most Promising Companies of the New Space” and will dive into the startups ecosystem of the Space industry while sharing the latest innovations of the market. European Security Forum A well-known side event of ICT Spring, European Security Forum will gather cybersecurity professionals to discuss the latest trends in a field that is evolving at a faster pace than ever, with the number of (sophisticated) cyberattacks constantly growing. The first session, “Data Security: everyone’s business” will focus on the crisis and how cybersecurity concerns have grown exponentially, with the creation of innovative tools. “AI threats and opportunities” will then be on the agenda as it has become essential to ensure the security of AI systems, and so will the “The era of Zero Trust”, with the recognition that “trust can be considered a vulnerability”. The topic "Post quantum cryptography" will end the European Security Forum. Mastermind Summit This new summit aims at giving participants a view on “Strategic Acceleration EU and International Programs”, as well as funding available for startups. The session will consist in speeches to provide assistance to startups and to help them develop their networks and businesses. Experts will relate success stories, define the art of pitching, etc. Moreover, panel discussions with VCs will be organized, with professionals presenting the biggest trends they are currently following in the fields of Fintech, Deeptech, New Space, and more. This second session will be entitled “Startups Verticals”. With theparticipation of Priscila Chaves (Tech Ethicist & Impact Entrepreneur) Sam Scimemi (Senior Assistant in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, Former ISS Director, NASA), Jason Maude (Chief Technology Advocate, Starling Bank), Joakim Sjöblom (Co-founder and CEO, Minna Technologies), Tomas Martinkenas (Director of Privacy and Security, Vinted), Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck (Founding Director, Digital Leadership Institute), Morgan Wirtz (CEO & Co-founder, Upy) and Elia Montanari (Head of Management and Control, ESA). Local experts Marc Hansen (Luxembourg Minister Delegate for Digitalisation), Jean-Jacques Dordain (Advisor,, Avanti Sharma (Pre-Teen Technology Specialist, Workshop4Me) and Carl-Friedrich zu Knyphausen (Director Logistics Development, Zalando) have also confirmed their participation to this year’s edition of ICT Spring. About ICT Spring ICT Spring is a global tech conference hosting an array of international professionals. It offers the participants a unique opportunity to deepen their digital knowledge, capture the value of the fast-growing FinTech, drive innovation in the Supply Chain industry, pierce the secrets of IT Security and explore the impact of Space technologies on terrestrial businesses. All this through high-level conferences, exhibitions and demonstrations of the latest tech trends and Innovations. ICT Spring is hosted within the Digital ICT Week, organised by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and Farvest in order to stimulate digital transformation, illustrate the latest tech trends and present growth opportunities for startups and SMEs. ICT Spring is also the perfect place to network with peers and future business partners. More information: About Farvest Farvest has become the one-stop-agency for companies and institutions aiming to promote Luxembourg as a gateway to Europe and a perfect place to establish a company. The Agency contributes to support these organizations thanks to its strong and wide network of experts, industry leaders, and proven skills to bring meaningful short and long-term projects into life. Farvest isrecognized as a B2B multi-specialist, enabling business and strategic partnerships. Farvest is composed of forward thinkers and passionate individuals who support the Agency’s clients in reaching their target whether it is for increasing their reach, reviewing their brand positioning, enhancing their communication strategy, designing outstanding communication supports, boosting a website performance, etc. Committing to highlighting Luxembourg as a creative nation, fostering innovation and awarding national best cross-sectors practices, are among Farvest top priorities. More information: Contact Anne-Lorraine Reinbolt +352 26 27 69-1

Life & Style

Will there be an alternative to the Facebook ecosystem?

Facebook - the social network that started in early 2000 is the only platform that's available for us if you want to be on a social network. Over the years, Facebook has added two more apps that dominates our lives; WhatsApp and Instagram. Now after 20 years, its a good time to look back and take stock of the situation on where I came from, where I am now, and what I want. Facebook was not the first social network, its Friendster. But Facebook clearly ate or defeated all other apps along the way and become the dominant and only player in this space. When I started being on Facebook, I was among those who accepted all friend requests whether I know the person, I might have seen the person, or its a friend's friend or what not. Fast forward today, I don't do that anymore. In fact, I was unfriending loads whom I have no clue about and was trimming down my friends list. As I do that, "privacy" and "close-knit" are on top of my mind. As those words dominate, Facebook is going in the opposite direction. They are closely integrating Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram messages. Eventually, you can start communicating in one app and finish the conversation in the other app. Post in Facebook, automatically display in Instagram, and chat about it in WhatsApp. This worries me, as three apps that I used with different set of people, and different set of information is going to be united into one. Facebook already knows a lot about me than I do. Now with all three apps rolled-into-one, I am going to be literally having a copy of my life in Facebook's servers that I have no control over the use. This worries me, and this should be worrying us all. I did not move out of Facebook by choice, because the strongest case I made to myself was that I would lose my friends list I had built over the years from all continents. Finding them again, and connecting with them, and reminding them of a memory I shared with them seemed to be an impossible task. But Facebook did me a favor. One fine day, they blocked me. I did not really know why, but they said they are not cool with me any more and they need my passport, driving license or any ID. Well, my Facebook name is not exactly what my passport displays. 95% of Facebook names will not match their passport names. But now Facebook wants my passport. In face, Facebook already knows a whole lot about me, and the last piece to map was my passport copy perhaps. Wasn't comfortable at all. But, I still wanted my friends list back, so I shared anyway. They did not budge, and there was no explanation or appeal. Boom, more than a decade of friends list and I am blocked out of Facebook now. Naturally, I was sad, angry and frustrated. After a number of sunsetting days, I am happier than ever. Don't get me wrong. I want to be on a social network. I want to have good friends I truly want to be posting on what's going on in their lives. But, I don't want my social network to track my every move and tell me what I will need now and in the future. I want to be at peace. Look at friends' travel, see their family being happy and not pressured by someone else or give someone the power to kick-me-out anytime at their will. But, I look around for such a social network, I don't see any other choice now. Hope is there though. WhatsApp alternatives such as Signal has come-up. There should be, and there will be, a Facebook alternative that I can have only my closest, good and trusted friends and acquaintances. I can chat, share, and care about my life and be updated on their lives. That one app that gives me "privacy" and keep it "close-knit. I am confident that days will come in the next years. Until then, hoping to write more. /// Written By Kevin This is a personal opinion by the author.

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