So You Want to Work in the Cannabis Industry?

posted in: Cannabis Institute | 0
So You Want to Work in the Cannabis Industry? | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Cannabis Institute - CEUs | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Believe the Hype

Trey Reckling - Cannabis Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Instructor & Author Trey Reckling

Cannabis cowboys, ganjapreneurs, marijuana mavens — these are just a few of the creative job titles the media uses as it describes pioneering positions in the burgeoning legal marijuana industry.

And it’s no surprise: The industry has been projected by some to be worth over $40 billion — more valuable than the National Football League! — within five years of nationwide legalization. Some even say that is a humble estimate.

But just because the industry has a lot of financial potential, it actually isn’t the only motivation involved. After all, how many opportunities will you have to be part of a brand new industry?

In collaboration with the Academy of Cannabis Science, Seattle Central College’s Cannabis Institute has educated more medical marijuana consultants in Washington State than anyone else to date.

Of the hundreds of students who have successfully completed our program, now one of them has said that money is the reason they are passionate about working in the cannabis industry.

So what motivates them?

Many have had personal experiences as medical marijuana patients or have family members who are; they were often taking traditional pharmaceuticals to help with issues like insomnia, chronic pain, gastrointestinal stress, and more — and they found that transitioning to medicinal marijuana has been a huge benefit.

Since this is a new industry, we encourage people interested in the cannabis industry to bring their existing skills. For example, if you don’t have a background in agriculture, there’s no need to become a grower! As a new legal industry, there is growing need for infrastructure and support, so those with experience in the following fields will easily find a position:

  • Healthcare
  • Marketing, design, advertising & communications
  • Packaging
  • Law
  • Construction
  • Transportation

When you combined your existing skills with a great understanding and knowledge of cannabis, you’re prepared to help shape this new industry.

At the Cannabis Institute we have already seen a wide variety of students who are positioning themselves for jobs that are on the horizon by increasing their cannabis IQ and knowledge. Our program is offered in an eLearning format, so we’ve been able to work with students from all over the US. We’ve helped them better understand the industry, the science behind medical marijuana, important customer service considerations, and current scientific research.

For those who want to establish themselves in the cannabis industry, there is no single path to get there. It will take creativity, stamina, great flexibility and passion. We are excited to be able to help people realize their goals and to be prepared to succeed in a brand new industry.

Make Balance Work for You

posted in: How-To's and Guides | 0
Make Balance Work for You | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Make Balance Work for You | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Make Balance Work for You | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Are You in Balance?

Guest Post by Life and Career Coach Julie Morris

Many of us have heard that maintaining a work-life balance is important, but not everyone understands why.

In today’s world, with technological advances happening every day, it is getting easier and easier to stay connected to your job, even when you’re at home or on vacation.

There are often expectations to answer that email within the hour, or do a favor for your boss which extends to weekends or evenings when you’re ‘off the clock.’

The increase in working hours is putting your brain in overdrive, and as a result, your stress levels are skyrocketing with little downtime to recover.

Here’s a little more information on the importance of maintaining a good work-life balance and a few tips on how to achieve it.

Why a Work-Life Balance is Important

A good work-life balance is crucial to your personal health and your relationships, but what you may not know is that it can also improve your work performance.

Working too much can negatively affect:

Stress Levels

The occasional short stint of stress and pressure is good, because it means we are being challenged, have to problem solve, or increase our efficiency. But continuous stress is harmful, and can lead to health problems like ulcers, indigestion, high blood pressure, skin disorders, depression, and more.

Vulnerability to Burnouts

Burnout is when you are so overwhelmed and spent mentally and physically that it affects your work. When stress from work creeps into your home life, you are more susceptible to suffering from a burnout.


When you’re constantly working, you leave little time and energy for cooking healthy meals. You’re constantly going to that quick and often unhealthy option, like fast food or stopping at the vending machine — or even skipping meals altogether.


Staying active is one of your body’s ways to combat stress, and if you’re overworking, then you probably have higher quantities of stress and less time to exercise it out of your system.


If you are still thinking about work while attempting to engage in home activities like playing with your children or spending time with your significant other, you will not remain present in your current task. Same goes with work: When you are in the office and you are completely focused on your duties, then you will be more efficient.

Tips on Being More Balanced

Finding the right balance between work and play is possible, it just may take a few lifestyle adjustments.

Here are a few ways you can be more balanced in your day-to-day life:


Anytime your home life demands your attention, tell your higher ups that you’re dealing with personal issues.

Negotiate Your Workspace

Research your company’s policy about flexible hours for things like doctor appointments, and inquire about working from home. If you could telecommute a few days a week, it would allow you to dedicate a few hours for uninterrupted, hard work. Then you can use the extra time you have for yourself.


Sometimes that device glued to your hand can hurt your quality personal time. It makes life easier, but turn it off when you’re hanging out with the family or enjoying some peace and quiet.

Don’t Be a Yes-Man

Don’t feel guilty when you don’t commit to something. It is impossible to please everyone, so invest your time in activities that interest you and bring you joy.

Get Messy

Don’t worry about keeping everything squeaky clean. That time you’ve dedicated to scrubbing the toilet can go toward work or taking a nature walk. That said, it is helpful to make sure your home is optimized to reduce stress.


One of the best ways to feel more balanced in your life is to be engaged and focused on each task as it comes, whether it be a work activity or if you’re on your own time.


Prioritize what is really important to you.

Recommended Viewing

About Julie

Julie Morris is a life and career coach who thrives on helping others live their best lives.

It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there!

After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.

Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts.

When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book.

She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.

To learn more about or contact Julie, check out her website.

Retrain Your Brain with Regular Meditation

posted in: How-To's and Guides | 1
Retrain Your Brain by Meditating for 5 Minutes a Day | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Retrain Your Brain by Meditating for 5 Minutes a Day | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Free Your Mind, and Your Body Will Follow

There is a great deal of research on the positive impact that meditation can have on your overall wellness. Some of those include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better pain management
  • Improved immune system
  • Higher levels of empathy
  • Better recall and organization of information
  • Prevention of age-related pre-frontal cortex (brain) shrinking
  • Possible help with depression

One of the great things about meditation is that everyone can do it, you only need to find a practice that’s right for you.

Wellness Educator and Seattle Central faculty member Kelli Murphy has been practicing meditation for over 20 years, and offers a free weekly meditation group at the Mitchell Activity Center each Tuesday. “I do not claim to be an expert,” she laughs. “I’m learning every moment, and I collect, study, and apply new information on meditation all the time — I encourage everybody to do the same.

“Everyone can meditate, and you really can’t do it incorrectly,” Kelli says. “I’ve seen lists of over 40 different styles of meditation, with the most often referenced being Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Metta Meditation, or Transcendental Meditation (TM). My very simple definition of meditation is a practice that allows you to be fully present, so simple daily activities can be meditative, too; things like like walking, yoga, qi gong, tai chi, praying, gardening, music, dancing, running, cooking, swimming, singing, or chanting can be effective methods of meditation. The key is to find a practice that resonates with you.”

Even your work can have meditative qualities. “Painting, building, programming, assembly work, accounting, and body work can all be meditative at some point or another,” Kelli notes. “And other life experiences. Sitting for hours at my dying father’s bedside, or rocking my infant daughter to sleep were also highly meditative experiences for me.”

Through her meditative practice over the last 20 years, and facilitating the group at Seattle Central for about 6 years, Kelli has noticed that she has developed more order within her mind. “I haven’t been able to save the world or end hunger; and I seem to have the same issues and problems that most people have,” she says. “I have experienced great losses and wonderful celebrations. I have made decisions that I would change if I had another chance. And like many, I have worried over things that don’t really matter. What has changed for me is I am often able to choose peace over chaos (some of the time) and to use words and actions that help, not hurt (most of the time). Some days I am more successful in these positive choices than others, and that is why I keep ‘practicing’ meditation — over and over and over again.”

In terms of which style of meditation Kelli facilitates, she thinks its closest to Mindfulness Meditation. “We meet for 20 minutes each Tuesday, from 12:10pm – 12:30pm throughout the quarter, and I try to incorporate elements such as intentional meditations, focused meditations, self-compassion, stress reduction, forgiveness, walking meditations, and even some gong and nature sound meditations,” she explains.

Starting Your Meditation Practice

Here are Kelli’s tips on how to establish your own meditation practice.

While it’s a great idea to attend a class or group for meditation, you can definitely start meditation on your own; here’s a simple approach:

  • Start small — begin with 5 minutes and build from there
  • Ideally meditate in the same place, at the same time, every day. This gives your body and brain the signal that it is time to stop and breathe
  • Set a timer so you can relax into the experience
  • Sit in an upright, comfortable position
  • Gently close your eyes
  • Focus on the breath, breathing in and out slowly
  • Do your best to get three breaths together in a row before your mind goes sideways and you have to pull it back to ‘breathing in and breathing out’
  • End with a kind word to yourself or others

As you get more comfortable you can (or not) increase the amount of time you meditate.

Some practices recommend a specific amount of time, although the science is still out on just how long a meditation session should be to reap the most benefit. Find what works best for you.

Meditation is meant to be an enhancement to your life. It is not meant to keep you isolated from the rest of your world, spending the majority of your day alone, and separate. And while some days might be easier than others, most people report feeling better after meditating.

Remember that meditation is a practice: The more you do it, the easier it gets. You are training your brain, so be patient with yourself.

Would you like more information on meditation, or the weekly group that Kelli facilitates? Please feel free to contact her.

Recommended Resources

If you are thinking the same thoughts, they will lead to the same choices, which cause the same behaviors, which create the same experiences, which produce the same emotions, which in turn drive the same thoughts — so that, neurochemically, you stay the same.

In effect, you are reminding yourself of who you think you are — and it is reflected in your very biology.

You are NOT hardwired to be the same way for the rest of your life.

The brain is capable of change throughout our lives, creating new neural connections.

You can use your mind, to change the brain, to change your mind, to make your life better.

— Dr. Joe Dispenza, Neuroscientist

Active Listening Fosters Effective Collaboration

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Challenge Your Biases

The brain processes an enormous amount of information every second of the day, and is very adept in filtering out that which it doesn’t deem ‘important.’ This is an essential function, and it enables us to prioritize information that we believe will have an immediate impact on our lives.

But this same function can, for better or for worse, lead us to filter out and ignore stimuli that is not considered essential to our survival. Quite literally — and often — we can only hear what we want to hear.

One of the results of this process can be cognitive bias, which may in turn form the basis for how we relate to others. Through our own lived experiences, we create a shorthand that we use to interpret what other people say, using a lens that has been developed over time to make sense of the words and actions of others.

Relying solely on this shorthand can introduce conflict between people who are interpreting things from a completely different perspective. It can also inhibit effective collaboration if people aren’t willing to take a step back from their ideas and be open to others.

One way to break through our own perceptions is to engage in Active Listening. Some of the elements of this process include:

  • Try to understand before trying to be understood: In practice, this means that you stay focused on the speaker, truly listening to what they say, instead of half-listening in order to prepare your response. Ask yourself to hear not only what they’re saying, but what it means for them.
  • Be non-judgmental: Before you bring your ideas to the conversation and make a judgment about what the speaker has said, you should hear their own judgment of the topic or idea. This allows for empathetic listening, and gives you an opportunity to further understand their perspective.
  • Stay focused: Give the speaker your full attention so that you’re able to truly hear what they’re saying. Keeping eye contact and exhibiting positive body language shows the speaker that you are engaged and present.
  • Give space: It’s important to know when to speak, and when to allow the speaker the space to reveal what they are really thinking. If at all possible, don’t interrupt the speaker. How they reveal their perspective is just as important as the information they’re sharing.

Now, how can we learn and practice these skills so that we’re able to use them in our personal and professional lives? One method is through the art of improvisation.

Julian Schrenzel of Improv Alive has been helping folks hone their Active Listening skills through his dynamic improvisation workshops, such as our Thinking on Your Feet class.

“In the world of improvisation, there actually is no such thing as NON-active listening,” Julian notes. “If you are not actively listening during a scene or exercise, you are not improvising. Improvisation means that you’re simply responding to what’s happening at this very moment — no agenda, no distractions. In fact, the moment you ‘check out,’ or try to control what’s going on, is the very moment that it stops working. My goal is to nurture a safe but challenging environment where every participant can stretch themselves to listen with their entire body, and engage with every sense they have.”

Improvisation encourages inclusion, positivity, and support, which are key elements of Active Listening. “Have you ever had a conversation with someone, be it a customer service rep or a spouse, where you felt that you were not being listened to?” Julian asks. “It’s frustrating, and angering, and closes you off to a true dialogue. On the contrary, when you are talking with someone who is fully present and fully engaged, it’s energizing. Rather than digging in, it causes an opening of the minds involved. Can you imagine if every meeting you went to at work was attended by open minds and willing ears?”

Once you’ve had the opportunity to explore and practice these techniques, how can you employ them in your professional life? In addition to conflict resolution, collaboration can benefit greatly from Active Listeners.

“Many people think of collaboration and team innovation as something you can actually set out to ‘do’ — they think of it like setting out to climb a mountain or run a marathon,” Julian says. “This is not how it works. Collaboration, Innovation … these are not goals to accomplish. They are actually a RESULT of Active Listening! When each member of the team places more importance on supporting and uplifting their colleagues over achieving their agenda or making themselves look good, then anything a team does will be ‘collaborative.’ When you add to this a common purpose, passion, and skills/talent, the RESULT is innovation. But it all starts with great listening skills.”

In fact, Julian’s personal experiences taught him how effective employing the listening techniques he learned from improvisation can be. “My father and I have a Technical Recruiting practice, and when we began working together, we both would butt heads a lot!” He remembers. “He and I have a different work style, and we would often not see eye to eye. We both are also a bit confrontational (the apple falleth not far from the tree,) and we used to really get into it. It was destructive to the practice, and to our relationship.”

So how did they solve their communication issues? “We both adopted the concept of “Yes and,” which is a very famous improvisation cornerstone that means ‘Accept and Build on,'” He recalls. “In practice, this means that we made it a goal with each other to come into hot-button issues with an internal focus of responding to EVERYTHING with positivity and addition to the idea. While I can’t say we were 100% changed, we did make a fundamental shift from suborn negativity to openness and positivity, that to this day makes working together much more enjoyable!”

Learning how to actively listen will give you the opportunity to know more, to learn more, and to empathize more. It can help you break through your own preconceived notions, and help you create an environment for others to communicate more effectively with you.

If conflict and poor collaboration are something you experience in your personal or professional lives, consider how taking a workshop in improvisation could transform your skills in a fun, non-judgmental, and open way.


Recommended Viewing

Listening is active.

At its most basic level, it’s about focus, paying attention.

— Simon Sinek

Instructor Spotlight: Monica Casimiro

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Monica Casimiro - Italian Food Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Monica Casimiro - Italian Food Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Monica Casimiro - Italian Food Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education


The Mediterranean diet is heavy in vegetables and olive oil, while keeping protein to a minimum — a combination that has resulted in the population of this region being some of the healthiest people in the world.

But it’s not only highly nutritious: It’s downright delicious, too.

A native of Sardinia, Monica Casimiro has been crafting Italian food since childhood, and she recently began collaborating with Seattle Central’s Continuing Education program to share her passion with others.

Our Exploring Sardinian Cuisine & Culture series is comprised of three hands-on workshops, hosted at Monica’s beautiful facility in the SODO area of Seattle.

Each workshop will focus on a specific traditional dish; you’ll create it with your fellow students, eat it together, and then complement it with a delectable dessert pairing.

Interested in learning more about Monica? Read her profile below.

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for nearly 10 years, and my students include both adults and children.

What's your educational & professional background?

I’m an early childhood educator, with over 20 years of experience.

What do you enjoy the most about teaching your classes at Seattle Central?

I love meeting new people, and revealing to them the secrets of an ancient cuisine.

Tell us about an inspirational teaching moment.

During one of my fresh pasta classes, one of my students — a very young financial consultant — said that, ‘Making ravioli is an emotional and fulfilling experience.’

That quote inspired me to focus on making fresh pasta, and teaching others how to do that. I want to have other people experience the same thing she described!

There are two types of people in the world, those who follow their dreams and those who keep on dreaming.

Monica Casimiro - Italian Food Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Monica's Favorites


  • Cooking, of course!


  • Chocolat


  • I love David Bowie
  • American Boy by Estelle

Restaurant in Seattle

  • La Carta De Oaxaca in Ballard

The Tools of the Trade: Project Management Tips & Resources

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If You Fail to Plan, You're Planning to Fail

Often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, this adage is at the heart of project management.

Regardless of your industry — or even your specific role — knowing how to effectively plan and execute a project is an important skill.

Other roles that would benefit from formal project management training include:

  • Project sponsors will learn how to initiate a project in a manner which increases the chance of success
  • Project team members will learn how they can contribute to the project to ensure its success
  • Supervisors and Managers will learn how they can influence the project outcome by providing effective leadership and support to project teams
  • Stakeholders will learn about their roles and responsibilities in keeping the project progressing in a timely manner

In fact, project management is a useful skill that can positively impact your personal life, too — it’s a great way to achieve larger personal goals, like getting a college degree or buying a home.

Here are a few insights, tips, tools, and resources that our expert instructor, Zahid Kahn, shared with us.

If you’d like to learn more, please join us for our Fundamentals of Project Management class.

The Top 5 Most Important Aspects of Project Management

  1. Efficiency – Plan, organize and manage your resources to achieve your project objectives and deliver your project on time.
  2. Customer Satisfaction – Ensure that you have a well-planned approach to determining who this project is important to, how you will engage them in planning, and communicate with them.
  3. Risk Management – Identify any potential risks from a strategic perspective, analyze them and then develop a plan to mitigate any adverse impacts on your project’s objectives.
  4. Role Clarity – Clearly define and document the team members’ roles and responsibilities.
  5. Communication – Keep your customers up to date on how the project is progressing, including the scope, schedule, budget, risk, and quality.

Project Management Best Practices

These project management concepts are useful across all industries and organizations:

  • All projects must be initiated with an approved project charter
  • All projects should be managed by applying the requirements of an approved project management plan
  • All changes in project must be reviewed and approved by applying an integrated change control process
  • Risk management must be planned to identify options to mitigate the impacts and the likelihood that they occur
  • A communications management plan should be developed to ensure project stakeholders receive the right information in a timely manner

Common Project Management Mistakes

While there are entire books written on this topic, here are a few of the big ones:

  • Poor Planning – A project has not been properly planned, or not planned at all; an effective project manager must develop a realistic plan
  • Budget Bloat – Every project should have an approved baseline budget, which should be compared regularly with actual expenses to track any deviations
  • Scope Creep – It’s easy to add items to a project as you’re working through it and realize it’s missing things, but you need to start with a realistic timeline for deliverables and try to maintain it in order to deliver the project on time
  • Ineffective Communication – Before beginning a project, identify everyone who has an interest in it, analyze their expectations, influences and requirements throughout the project, and then create a communication plan to meet their needs

Professional Boot Camp Will Get Your Career in Shape

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Amp up Your Career

Yvonne Freitas McGookin - Professional Development Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationThe majority of us have to work for a living — and if we’re lucky enough to choose our work, we should definitely make the most of it.

So: Do you love the work you do? Is it meaningful to you? Are you achieving your goals in life, and is your work supporting that? If your answers to these questions are anything but a resounding “Yes!” then it’s time for a little bit of a tune-up.

Check out our Professional Boot Camp, a series of five workshops designed to help you actively manage your career. You can sign up for the whole series, or choose to come to any of the following workshops individually:

  1. Setting clear career goals and making them known
  2. Cultivating your networks
  3. Quantifying your accomplishments
  4. Expanding your skill set
  5. Knowing what you’re worth

Instructor Yvonne Freitas McGookin shared more about her background with this Boot Camp, what inspired her to teach it, and why someone would want to attend.

And despite the class name, we promise that she will not make you sweat.

How long have you been teaching this class?

I’ve been teaching career development classes and workshops for about 10 years.

What inspired you to teach this Boot Camp?

My own experience of exploring meaningful work and career is what inspired me to teach folks how to develop and manage their careers.

The idea of work and career has changed dramatically over the past 25 years: There’s more freelancing, part-time and remote work opportunities.

Also, the way we work is more focused on gaining, sharing and leveraging knowledge, which has led to developing strong relationships and networks.

How is this class different from others that you teach?

In this class, we focus on the idea of career management — owning, enhancing and advancing your career.

Just as we care for anything we consider valuable, we need to pay attention to our career goals and manage them.

By doing so, we determine what we need to focus on or make adjustments to so that we can achieve our goals.

Think about it like an investment in your future.

Who would benefit from participating in the Professional Boot Camp?

This class is for anyone who needs to get their career “in shape.”

Maybe they’ve been feeling a bit sluggish, or discouraged by their current job or promotional prospects.

Or maybe they’re feeling a lack of direction towards their career goals.

By getting clear on their goals and identifying opportunities to support them, they’ll gain a sense of “career fitness.”

Instructor Spotlight: Sharon Hager

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Sharon Hager - Graphic Design Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Sharon Hager - Graphic Design Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Sharon Hager - Graphic Design Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Decoding Design

Graphic design has undergone a fairly impressive revolution over the past few decades, thanks in large part to the advent of personal computers, and the powerful design and publishing software that followed shortly thereafter.

But as they say: With great power comes great responsibility.

Once you’ve installed Adobe Illustrator or InDesign on your computer, do you really know what to do with it? And just because you know how to use the software, does that mean you’ll be able to design fetching brochures, logos, business cards, and more?

That’s where veteran designer and Continuing Education instructor Sharon Hager comes in.

With nearly 30 years of experience under her belt, she’s skilled in providing guidance on design best practices, as well as how to effectively use the Adobe suite of design software.

Sharon recently shared more about her background and experience with us; read on to learn more about her.

What classes do you teach for Seattle Central?

How long have you been teaching?

I believe I started in 1994.

In addition to the classes that I teach at Seattle Central, I’ve also taught on-location watercolor journaling classes, and I’ve led artists’ travel workshops in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Paris, France.

What's your educational & professional background?

I started as an English major, but quickly switched to Fine Arts, focused on painting. I then pursued additional classes in illustration and graphic design.

Professionally, I was a freelance designer for awhile, and then I landed a position as the graphic designer for Seattle Central College — which I’ve been doing for the past 26 years!

What do you enjoy the most about teaching your classes at Seattle Central?

I love interacting with students, and the energetic and diverse learning environment that Seattle Central promotes.

Tell us about an inspirational teaching moment.

I love it when a student has an “aha!” moment — they suddenly understand something they’ve been struggling with, and their excitement is palpable.

It’s like a flash of light!

For example, drawing with the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator can be a challenge to master, and there have been a number of “aha!” moments during that particular hands-on lesson.

There’s often a feeling of excitement at the end of a class when the students know that they have learned something new and useful.

Sharon Hager - Graphic Design Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Sharon's Favorites


  • I especially like standard jazz and blues


  • TRAVEL — especially to Paris

Learning New Languages Enriches Your Perspective

posted in: How-To's and Guides | 3

This is Your Brain on Language

Learning a language as a child is a very organic process for many of us, particularly because our brains are perfectly attuned to picking up what everyone is saying around us.

Depending on where you grew up, you may have had the opportunity to learn more than one language during this formative period; whether you lived in an area that speaks more than one language, grew up in a household with multi-lingual parents, or attended schools that focused on teaching multiple languages, you may have had more than one ‘mother’ tongue.

But if you didn’t have the chance to learn more than one language in your youth, there’s no reason you shouldn’t start now. In fact, learning new languages — be it second, third, fourth or twentieth — as an adult has many benefits, including:

  • Improving your focus & attention span
  • Increasing your ability to multi-task
  • Enhancing your ability to learn other things more easily
  • Increasing confidence in communicating with others
  • Expanding your perspective of the world

Need more of a case to pick up a new language? In addition to curating some excellent resources on the benefits of learning new languages, we asked two of our language teachers to share more about their experiences.

Ali's Story

Ali Houssein - French Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationAli Houssein is a native of Djibouti and has been teaching French Conversation and French – Level 1 at Seattle Central since 2015.

His native language is Somali, but he also speaks French, English and Arabic. Learning these languages wasn’t really a decision for Ali: Djibouti’s history and the multicultural environment in which he was raised gave Ali the opportunity to learn these languages as part of his every day life.

“With each language comes a culture, a way of life, a way of thinking, and that changes your way of seeing the world and interacting with other people,” Ali notes. “You learn that everything is Relative, and you become more tolerant and compassionate with people from different cultures. You understand better where and why there is a culture clash between civilizations.”

While Ali doesn’t currently have children, he intends to expose them to multiple languages when he does. It’s particularly important to him that they understand that they belong to a multicultural, complex world. “They need to part of it as actors and not spectators,” he says. Ali believes that learning multiple languages will prepare his children to be less fearful, be more prepared to face challenges, and devise solutions that are fair and just.

That kind of perspective is what inspired Ali to teach languages to others — to build bridges, and decrease cultural misunderstandings. One tool that is particularly helpful is humor, as it helps his students see different cultures in a new light.

Here are a few of Ali’s favorite words and phrases in the different languages that he speaks:

  • Somali
    • Nabad iyo aano: “Peace and milk. It‘s a different way to say Bye but with more meaning (stay in peace and prosperity).”
  • French
    • Bon, bein, bof: “Interjections to use when undecided, not really impressed. I like the way it sounds.”
  • English
    • No way: “You can use for pretty much for anything: starting or finishing a conversation, disagreeing, surprise … “
  • Arabic
    • In shaa Allah: “If Allah agrees. It humbles your expectations.”

Teresa's Story

Teresa Ramon Joffre - Spanish Language Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationTeresa Ramon-Joffre has been teaching Spanish Conversation Beginner & Intermediate as well as our Spanish for Business Professionals Level 1 & Level 2 classes since 2015.

Originally from Peru, Teresa’s first language was Spanish, but she also speaks English fluently, and knows some German, French and Sanskrit.

She began learning multiple languages as a child, when her mother enrolled her in a French preschool. “I started learning Cantonese at 5 years old. But I didn’t really learn any Chinese, the ‘teaching methodology’ at the school wasn’t very educational,” she says. “No one really learned it but it was fun, we even prayed in Chinese. I started learning English at around 6 years old.”

While her parents were initially responsible for exposing her to multiple languages at a young age, Teresa took the reigns in elementary school. “I took my English learning ‘in my own hands’ and taught myself a lot of what I know now,” she says. “My parents and I loved The Beatles and we enjoyed singing along. Then, I learned about John Lennon’s solo albums and was hooked on the lyrics. I memorized them first, and later on I found out what they meant. It was almost the same that happens when we learn our first language, through lullabies.”

Teresa considers languages to be her friends — albeit imaginary — because of all the time that she spent figuring out songs and singing along. It also enriched her relationship with her parents. “[My mom] is a theater person and some of the plays were in English so we had fun with language and sayings,” she remembers. “My dad also liked songs in English, so I guess language helped me connect even more with my parents, share common interests. I also loved Mark Twain and was able to read him in English as a teenager.”

She began traveling with her family at a very young age, which helped to expand her ability to communicate with others who speak a different language. “My first trip was at 4 and we went to Amsterdam. After that, we never stopped traveling,” she recalls. “So, I think almost half of my interactions with people in my life have been in a second language. I can say languages allowed me since an early age to connect with people from other countries, other realities, and also allowed me to share what I had.

“My mom remembered an incident in Germany. I was four and she took me to a park and in a second or two I was playing with all the little girls … and we were ‘speaking’ in our own language.”

In terms of the benefits she’s experienced as a result of learning multiple languages, Teresa thinks it has helped her adapt more quickly to different cultures, and to feel more comfortable in new surroundings. “It makes you feel more independent and self-assured,” she notes. “Also, it is great for connecting with others and creating meaningful connections.”

In her experience, taking a language class is about more than just learning how to communicate differently. “It’s also an excuse to socialize, and socializing usually makes us happier,” she smiles. “Have you seen the movie Italian for Beginners?”

She also believes that knowing how to speak multiple languages is a great addition to any resume; our work is getting even more and more globalized, and it can help you land your dream job.

It’s one thing to learn languages, but what inspired Teresa to teach others? “I think there are two words in Sanskrit that can best answer this question: Dharma and karma,” she laughs. “In the sense that teaching became my path at a very young age. I started teaching (informally) when I was 12 years old to a friend who wanted to learn English and didn’t have the means to afford it. Later on, a school principal, who was also my friend, invited me to teach English in her school. Since then I haven’t stopped. In a way I didn’t decide it, it happened naturally.”

Here are a few of Teresa’s favorite words and phrases in the different languages she speaks:

  • English
    • Gorgeous: “I love the sound and when I first learned the word I thought it meant chubby because it sounds like gordo in Spanish.”
    • Whatever: “It is just perfect and I don’t think we have just one word in Spanish that encompasses the meaning of whatever. I specially love it when life gets challenging.”
  • French
    • Tant pis: “This means never mind. It is one of the first words I learned in French and my dad still jokes about it with me. I think what we liked the most was the sound of it.”
  • German
    • Est tut mir leid: “It is very handy. It means I am sorry.”
  • Sanskrit
    • Adho mukha svanasana: “Really, all the yoga words!!! But this is one of my favorite poses, down dog. It doesn’t mean that literally, but this is how it is being used in yoga.”
  • Portuguese
    • Saudade: “Even though I don’t speak it, I love this word, which is a concept to say you are missing someone or something, but it means so much more. It is nostalgia, longing.”

Lost in Translation

Here are a few fun words from other languages that don’t have a direct English counterpart:

  • Kummerspeck (German)
    • Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
  • Gigil (Filipino)
    • The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is irresistibly cute.
  • Lagom (Swedish)
    • Maybe Goldilocks was Swedish? This slippery little word is hard to define, but means something like, “Not too much, and not too little, but juuuuust right.”
  • Luftmensch (Yiddish)
    • There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense.


Strengthen Your Bookkeeping Skills With a Certificate in Small Business Accounting

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Small Business Accounting Certificate | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Learn the Basics of Applied Accounting

Susanne Elliott - Small Business Accounting Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationBeginning in the Fall of 2016, Seattle Central College is offering a completely revamped approach to training professionals in Business Technology Management.

This multi-track program allows students to customize their degree and certifications by choosing their area of focus — from business process to office management to user support and more.

One of these focuses is Applied Accounting, and we’ve collaborated to offer these credit-level classes as a non-credit professional certificate program to the community.

Comprised of three classes — Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 — this certificate program starts Fall Quarter and continues through Spring Quarter.

Upon completion, you can choose to sit for a national bookkeeping certification exam. You’ll be prepared to start a new career in accounting or to handle your business’ finances on your own.

We asked veteran instructor Susanne Elliott to share more about what you can expect from this program.

How long have you been teaching this class?

This particular course is a new addition to Seattle Central’s Business Technology Management program.

I have taught and created similar courses for other colleges, but I am especially excited for our college to offer these courses to our community.

What inspired you to teach Small Business Accounting classes?

Being able to teach a student a new skill, one that can translate into a lifelong career, and to help change or shape another person’s future is inspiring.

Perhaps it’s cliche, but there have been many teachers and mentors in my past that have changed and shaped my life, and I aspire to do the same.

How is this class different from others that you teach?

Most college accounting courses are geared toward the traditional student, those in their late teens and early twenties, most of which will transfer to universities to pursue bachelor degrees in accounting, finance or business.

This certificate program is designed with the adult learning in mind, someone who isn’t interested in transferring to another college, and who needs real-world skills today.

Who would benefit from getting this certificate?

The Small Business Accounting Certificate is a great fit for:

  • Individuals that are seeking a new career in accounting
  • Small business owners that wish to do their bookkeeping themselves
  • Anyone who is curious about the ins and outs of accounting

Upon completion of all three Applied Accounting classes, you’ll be prepared to take a national bookkeeping certification exam, and ready to seek employment as either an entry level bookkeeper or accounting clerk — or even to start a new career as an independent bookkeeper.

Describe an inspirational moment you've had while teaching.

What inspires me and keeps me motivated to continue teaching are the many successes and achievements of my students, many with whom I stay in touch via Linkedin.

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