I briefly introduce myself and talk about what this podcast is about and how it aims to be a companion to your English learning journey.
Hi and welcome to the Along Came English podcast. My name is Alena and this is the very first episode.
Well, hello. How are you? I hope you’re having an awesome day! Thank you by the way for clicking on this podcast and giving it a go. This is going to be a short introductory episode and I’m going to briefly introduce myself and talk a bit about what this podcast is about.
So in case you don’t already know, the purpose of this podcast is to accompany you in your English learning journey. You get to hear a native English speaker ramble on about a wide variety of topics, providing listening materials where you can pick up vocabulary, phrases, some grammar hopefully, learn about pop cultural references within the realm of the English language, listen to what life is like in the Southern hemisphere and so on.
So the format of the episodes will be quite relaxed. Unfortunately the pace is not really for beginners – I mean I don’t speak very fast in general but probably not at a pace that’s suitable for beginners.
I’m aiming for about 20 to 30 minutes per episode where I talk about a particular topic at depth, and about 1-2 episodes a week – depending on my schedule. So the aim is to offer a wide variety of English topics that you can use for your listening development over the course of this podcast.
So a little bit about myself.
I have a background in science. I worked in pathology as part of the health industry but have since moved on since I started teaching English.
I like to watch sci-fi movies and zombie comedies. I enjoy drinking red wine. In fact I have a glass right next to me, right now. I played classical piano when I was much younger – not anymore unfortunately. I haven’t travelled much, but I do enjoy it very much. I have a fear of heights. And I watch a lot of YouTube videos and a lot of Netflix.
Currently I’m living in Melbourne Australia. So I’m actually Malaysian by descent. I grew up in Brunei. If you don’t know, that’s an independent country, so it’s actually a separate country from Malaysia. It’s a part of Borneo Island in South East Asia. And I then moved on to Australia as a teenager to pursue tertiary studies.
So in future episodes I’ll talk a bit more about my upbringing, the different places I’ve lived, so maybe that will give you an idea of why I sound the way that I do right now.
So I’ve been an English teacher for just over a year now. I actually decided to take a break from Melbourne and moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is the capital of the country. So that was end of 2016 and I was there for a year.
So that’s when I start teaching English. I started off teaching conversational English online and then I started giving private lessons locally. So the students that I had weren’t really local local – so they were mostly Japanese who were living in Kuala Lumpur and wanted to improve their English.
I also taught English to a small group of adults at a local language centre for a few months. So that was a pretty good experience. During that time I also did a short-course in teaching English as a foreign language – so some of you may know, that’s TEFL – and then I received my certificate in May last year.
So I moved back to Melbourne Australia around the end of last year. So that was only a few months ago. I still teach English online and I thought it might be a good opportunity to start a podcast.
So I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast for several months now, so towards the end of my time in Malaysia. I thought that this would help my online students particularly who lived in countries where they had limited opportunities to speak and listen to English.
You know, and I thought that it… I guess this would be a good opportunity to help others beyond my online students. And I thought that, you know, it might be a good opportunity to add to what was already available online – give a bit of a variety to the English materials that you could use for your own practice and development of your listening skills.
So I guess I would like to know what you would like to hear… actually. I’ve created a facebook page for Along Came English Podcast so you can make suggestions, comments, receive updates and such. So feel great to give the page a like and… yea, let me know what you would like to hear.
So why the title “Along Came English”? So I know there’s quite a number of English podcasts that’s kind of named after the host. So why not “Alena’s English Podcast” or “Learning English with Alena”?
I guess I just don’t really want my name in the title. I don’t have the confidence for it I guess. And I think also… I just want the emphasis really on helping you with your English, and being a helpful resource in your English journey. So I didn’t want to take… I wanted to take away the focus on me.
And I think also “Along Came English” is quite an interesting phrase.
So just let me explain… So this is, I guess, considered an unusual word order, so usually people would say, “something came along” – like “John came along” or “Alena came along.”
Grammatically, it’s still understandable. But this particular phrase, being unusual, is not often used in everyday conversational English. And I think the interesting thing about an unusual word order is that… particularly in this case, “Along came…” indicates that something is special or important and it has a poetic sound to it.
So… you know.. in this case, it’s like something or someone came along and had an impact or made an impact in some way.
So I guess, in a way it is a sort of reflection on my own experience. Personally, having to learn English for the purpose of teaching it, was unexpected. And I didn’t realise the significance of the language until then.
I’ve only been teaching for a relatively short time, I’ve really enjoyed meeting different people from all over the world wanting to learn English. And I’ve really enjoyed the experience of trying to help them reach, or achieve their English goals.
I think… from another perspective, I guess if you look at it globally, you can say that English came along to become the global language it is today. And you know, with the increasing importance of English exams like IELTS, or TOEFL for migration reasons or for studying abroad, as well as its… I guess, main language of communication in industries such as IT, science, finance.
I guess “Along Came English” is sort of a fun look at how English is, in some way… a fun way of expressing the impact that it has on my life personally and on a larger scale.
Anyway, moving along.
So… a bit of a fun reference regarding… with relation, I guess, to the title. As some of you may know, there is a movie called “Along Came Polly” back in 2004. So… It starred Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. It was directed by John Hamburg. So this was a romantic comedy about a man… sorry, named Reuben who starts dating Polly and introduces him to activities he had previously deemed as “too risky”. So I guess you would describe Reuben as being conservative or uptight. And Polly is, I guess, fun, and she likes to take risks. So the contrast between their two personalities is a source of comedy throughout the film.
So I wouldn’t say it’s an excellent movie. I mean it has a rating of 5.9/10 on IMDb. But the film did open at #1 at the U.S. Box office, overtaking The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. So you know… I guess it has its impact in some way.
Well anyway, I guess that’s the end of this introductory episode. I hope you enjoyed it and you stick around for the next podcast.
Thank you so much for listening. And have a lovely day and an even lovelier week. Bye!