Introduce yourself: Tell us your background, where you live, and what you do?
My name is Tayo Rockson and I like to describe myself as a walking contradiction because I am a Nigerian who grew up in five different countries and four different continents. Essentially, I was a minority every where I went and so connecting with people across cultures became a way of life. It allowed me to feed my curiosity about the world and fascination with impactful leadership. All those experiences have helped me build my career today as a speaker, podcaster, brand strategist and diversity and inclusion consultant. I currently live in New York City.
What language are you learning and why are you learning it?
I am currently learning Spanish for a few reasons. 1. I live in a Spanish speaking area in New York City so I’d like to embed myself more in my environment. 2. I have a goal to touch the lives of 3 billion people in the world. Spanish is spoken 22 countries and by 437 million people. I already speak English and French which is spoken by 1.5 billion and 220 million people respectfully.
Speaking Spanish will allow me to spread my message of inclusion to more people and also it’s a learning opportunity for me to learn about other cultures.
Share your first A-HA moment with us: The moment when you felt that your language skills advanced to the next level. How long did it take to achieve this result?
Hmmm. It’ll have to be the moment a Brazilian lady was lost in New York City and she approached me saying she didn’t speak English. I responded with Hablas Espanol? and she responded with si. I went on to direct her to her destination. I couldn’t believe it because at that point, I didn’t think I was at a conversational level. This was about 2 months into my studying.
Tell us about your learning schedule. What time of the day do you take your lessons and how much time do you spend learning per week? How do you find time to take lessons with your busy schedule?
It ranges. Because I am a consultant and speaker I am always on the move so I found that early mornings, late nights and occasional lunch breaks were the best times for me.
Who was your teacher(s) at Rype, and why did you select him/her as your teacher?
Carla Galleguillos & Yasmin Loza. They both took an interest in the work that I did and I did in theirs so we were always able to find something to talk about. This also helped me expand my vocabulary as well as create an environment where I could simulate my everyday situations in Spanish.
Could you share some top language tools and resources you use to learn a language?
For me in addition to Rype, I’d say Coffee Break Spanish, Babbel, Duolingo and FluentU
What are your top recommendations and tips for new language learners?
Practice consistently even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. Change the settings in your phone to the language you’re learning from and start watching shows in the language you’re learning with English subtitles.