“How has an understanding of language and cultures changed your personal and professional outlook?”
This question about how language and culture changes our outlook is one that Eavan Mages addresses to herself and asks listeners in podcast Episode 13, United by Diversity.
In beautiful Irish storytelling style, Eavan shares how the multilingual and multicultural exposure of her youth in Galway showed her an expansive and calm vision of life and possibilities. It showed her possibilities of identity and purpose that were to take her to many distant shores and place her in many culturally and linguistically diverse settings where she walked many new paths.
Eavan loves and lives the quote by Frank Smith: “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” Eavan has been opening doors to fascinating experiences, friendships, and employment thanks to her rich multilingual background. Her current work seeks to ensure that learners of any age and background taste some of the rich flavor of multilingualism and multicultural experiences that she has enjoyed.
Eavan Mages’s bio and contact information:
Eavan Mages hails from Galway, Ireland–a lively, ocean-side college town and Europe’s selected city for Capital of Culture 2020. She studied Irish (Gaelic) for 13 years and ultimately went on to learn German, Spanish and French at The National University of Ireland – Galway. It was during her study abroad year in Bamberg, Germany, that she met and married her husband, Mike. They eventually relocated to the United States and currently make their home in Austin, TX.
Eavan’s grandparents on her father’s side were both school principals and farmers in rural County Monaghan, Northern Ireland. Life in Ireland in the 1950s came with a high likelihood that one would need to emigrate to earn a living. Her parents lived in London and the United States in their 20s. When they began to have children, they returned to Ireland. Eavan’s father was very involved with civic affairs in Galway, and as President of the Chamber of Commerce and the local rugby club, it opened up doorways for the family to explore the continent, starting with Galway’s twin city of Lorient in Brittany. The family traveled the length and breadth of France and Spain in the 1970s, adding new areas of exploration each year–Croatia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, to name but a few.
This early introduction to a broader world fueled a strong interest in Eavan to be able to communicate with others in their own language. Her first study-abroad experience was as a ten-year-old when her parents sent her to a host family in Madrid for a month. This lifelong passion of travel, culture, language has now allowed Eavan to forge a career which has taken her around the world and with it the opportunity to explore everything from the hutongs of Beijing to the San Telmo markets of Buenos Aires and the wide-open beaches of Australia.
Connect up with Eavan: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eavan-mages-9721003/
To learn more about previous guests on It’s About Language or access other episodes of the podcast, visit It’s About Language or click on the Podcast tab above.