Friday, June 22, 2007

Friends Abroad – Language Exchange

Was searching through the net for Web Apps when I stumbled upon this one particular site which piqued my interest. It’s a social networking site for language learning called FRIENDS ABROAD.

This is their introduction of the site which I plucked out from here:
Hi, we're FriendsAbroad, an Internet languages company based in the United Kingdom - we're about 30 miles from the centre of London.

Our aim in life is to help you and millions of others to improve your language skills.

FriendsAbroad is the language network. Free to join, FriendsAbroad is an online community of millions of users in over 200 countries speaking over 80 languages. So far, it's been a lot of hard work with only small revenues coming from the advertising on the site.

We have lots of exciting changes in the pipeline, and hope that you'll be happy to pay a small amount per year for the additional language learning tools we're working on.

For now though, do join and have fun conversing with people all over the world about whatever interests you! Everything you see here today is free and will remain free.

Want to know more about us: meet the team.

So, in less than several minutes of going through the registration, I am now an official a member of this social site. Why sign up you ask? Well, at first I was curious… as curious as a cat and very much like a moth attracted to the fire. I know too much of curiosity wasn’t a good thing, and it could potentially harm you if not kill you. Ha, I am being overly dramatic here. Thing is, I felt that more good than harm would come out of this one. But then again, let's just see if this could be true.

Secondly, I do hope very very much to be able to learn Japanese. And it seems learning so interactively via the easy to use methods provided by FRIENDS ABROAD, could well be the answer to my quest of learning the language.

They encouraged us (members) to write a few things introducing ourself to other members around the world. And wrote I did… a very very very long intro nothing short of being obscenely long winded. LOL. In my opinion, it looks more suited as a blog post than a short introduction of self. Therefore, I thought, hey, why not post it here for all to have a good laugh at my silliness and at the same time introduce this fabulous site to all. In a way, you will get to know more about me that I have yet to disclose.

Here’s what I wrote to introduce myself:

I am a Chinese woman from Malaysia. A beautiful tropical country with what I consider as... a place with "extreme weather" i.e. it's either too much of rainfall or too dry and sweltering hot. Would really really love to experience snowfall or milder weather elsewhere.

One of the places I longed to visit is Japan. This particular country would and always will be on top of my travel wish list. Why was that, you ask? Things is, I've got this long time obsession with almost anything and everything Japanese. Especially fascinated with the Japanese language, that is. Hence, this is why I am here at FRIENDS ABROAD - to seek the golden opportunity of pickup the Japanese language. I would really love to be able to watch Japanese Anime without the English Subtitles one fine day. Yes, I am a crazed fan of Anime too. Guess I never did grow up. LOL.

Right, I believe I should give you an inkling of my present grasp of the languages I have listed in my profile;


Well, I can speak and write 'passable' English. In fact, I think my written English fares much better than my spoken one. I had to admit that I do have some pronunciation problem. Now, I do not claim that my English’s is prefect, as I do know there's so much more room for improvement. Therefore, what I believe is that, by helping others out in this language... I am also brushing up my own skill at the same time. Who knows, I might even have the good fortune of meeting someone with stronger command of the English language and prosper in it in the end. It is a win-win situation here at FRIENDS ABROAD right? By sharing, in return, we gain. How perfect a partnership.


The next language I commanded is the Cantonese (it's one of the many Chinese dialects - one of the major ones, anyways). Though, I might be 'pure' Chinese and this is in fact my mother-tongue, I couldn't read/write any of it. To tell you the truth, I even struggle writing my very own Chinese name. Gosh! Uh-huh, I am that bad. The only consolation of mine would be being able to at least speak the language. Phew! So, does this make me any less of a Chinese? I beg to differ.


Malay is the national language of my country, Malaysia. It's the language my country use for its academic system. I was quite good at it during my schooldays. I could speak like a Malay native and write almost like one too. My grades for this subject is very promising... at that period of time. However, things have changed over the years as I integrated myself into the rat race world (corporate world). Where English is the dominant language used for business. And so, gradually, my proficiency of this particular language fades and stunted in the background. Anyhow, I think I still haven't lost touch of it in totality. I could still understand it well enough and also speak and write 'passable' Malay if the need arises. Though I do get mental-block using it sometimes. It's only an understandable weakness, agreed?


I own a blog. It’s a place where I could practice my written English and improve my confidence in it. What better way to learn and improve a language than to practice it for real. Don’t you agree?

Apart from that, I also love reading and commenting on other people’s blog. It’s another good way of learning the language and improving your ease of use.

So, if any of you are interested or curious about my blog, I welcome you to visit my humble blog at (my primary blog) or at (my mirror site and social networking site). The name of my blog is, A HERMIT’S MUSE. The reason why I adopted this name is because I am practically a hermit in real life. I am always holed up at home… but it’s due to some personal issues and not exactly what I chose to be. Yes, I am quite a loner… but I do enjoy occasional gallivanting if given a choice.

Another thing about me is that, I am a caffeine-addict. The talk of coffee gives me instant mood lift. It’s almost like I couldn’t live without it.


I welcome all with open arms. Therefore, don't hesitate or be shy about writing to me.

To those who would be kind and generous enough to teach/coach me on Japanese... I thank you in advance with much gratitude *Bow, bow and bowing even lower*. Domo Arigato Gozaimasu.

Hope to hear from you soon.

If you wanna take a look at how this introduction look on my profile page at FRIENDS ABROAD, click here. Though I am not quite sure if you could actually view it without an account with them.

Lets just see what this impromptu spur-of-the-moment thing brings for me. Hope it hails good returns though. In terms of me being successful in learning a few more Japanese words... good enough to hold a basic conversation, I would be more than happy already.

Tee hee hee. Just to clarify it before anyone thinks I am writing this for moolah... something I don't do at all. But, I am not saying I wouldn't embark on it in the near future should circumstances permit it.


Che-Cheh said...

Interesting introduction. Hehe
Tell us how it goes from time to time ya. I might sign up later. Been wanting to learn other languages as well (French, Spanish, German hahaha)

I work in a Japanese company and I can speak a little...very tiny teeny little Japanese. Unfortunately Japanese language is not my cup of tea.

Kenny Mah said...

That's a fantastic introduction, esp on the languages you speak. Wish I had done one so I could explain better to my visiting Honeymooner friends from Italy... who are having the hardest time grasping the concept of the multiple languages we speak.

Kleio the Muse said...

Che-cheh: Thanks :D Ok, will try to update on it if there’s anything of interesting cropped up from it ya. Wah, you wanna learn so many languages ah… you must have been thinking of future traveling plan liao lor.

How interesting to work in a Japanese company. I envy the exposure to the Japanese language and culture you’ve gotten there. Too bad this language doesn’t interest you. I am guessing you aren’t into Anime then. LOL.

Kleio the Muse said...

Kenny Mah: Hi Kenny, thanks for dropping by *serve Teh-si-ping with kaya and butter toasted bread*. I am happy to see you here.

Awwww… you are making me blush from your kind comment. I did kind of struggle to explain and put it into words on the languages intro part. Hope I didn’t confuse people further due to my weak command of vocabulary and grammar. LOL.

Your guests must have been in awe and overwhelmed by the varieties of languages we speak here. Cos’ many of it aren’t exactly primary languages especially the different dialects use/speak. It could be very confusing indeed.

vhanded said...

You called that passable English? It's scorable English! I am currently learning Japanese, still the very beginning, learn the pronunciation and the writing.

So faster learn some Japanese before I leave Japanese comment in your blog, hehe.

*I learn it through my uni class, but still can easily get from web.

stev said...

your introduction really is quite interesting

good luck with the new languages & linguistic friends!

Kleio the Muse said...

Hey, that’s nice… so that makes us both novices in Japanese Language then. But I believe you must be more advanced that me. As I am only picking it up all by myself and didn’t get to attend any classes. My I get guidance from you then Vhanded sensei?

I am already pushing my brain’s limit liao. Just gotten around 10 hira characters and 10 kana characters plus some basic greetings and stuff. You are so lucky to get to learn this language in your Uni.

May I suggest with practice with each other online via IM? Can or not Vhanded sensei? Pretty please!!!!

Kleio the Muse said...

Thanks Stev :D
I am putting in whole lot of effort here… with the hope of traveling to Japan one fine day without needed a phase book at hand. That, that would be priceless. Then again, I would be just as content to be able to watch anime w/o the subtitles.