H for Hindi, Breaking Linguistic Barriers : Pallavi Singh
Often we find students lament how the rigid structure of the education system narrows their career options and professional capabilities. So, one might have an aptitude for something, yet, the professional constraints of time and effort required to fulfill them may just suppress the desire to realize their potential.
However, in these times along with the burdens of scoring well and maintaining academic records, Pallavi Singh, a bright young girl, 23 years old and pursuing her Bachelors in Psychology from Mumbai has broken free of such shackles. She gives Hindi lessons to expats, students and foreign dignitaries. A huge travel buff, she loves meeting new people and knowing more about other cultures and lifestyles. She gave wings to her aspirations and did what it took to expand her horizons by taking an initiative on her own.
Pallavi Singh, the Hindi tutor
We happened to meet at a nearby café, and her amiable personality and enterprising qualities made her seem like an interesting person to talk to. During the course of our conversation, she revealed how this idea came to her and how she contacted people over Facebook and now has taught a lot of expats. Her most high-profile student was the famous William Darymple, a prolific author and historian, who highly recommends her. She was approached by BBC, who interviewed her to understand more about the work she does.
Glowing recommendation from the famous author/historian William Darymple
Impressed by the level of initiative she has at such a young age, and her exemplary record, we decided to interview her, as she sets a lovely example for all the youngsters out there giving them the hope that if they really put their mind to something they need nothing more than self-confidence and dedication to accomplish it. The following is an excerpt from the conversation we had with her.
Tell us something about yourself and the kind of person that you are.
Well, I’m a 23-year old student of Psychology. I love traveling, getting photographed and I enjoy North Indian food & a nicely made cup of Coffee. If I had to describe my personality, I would say that, I was always versatile and independent. I am a solo Initiator (I travel solo – both national and International). I have tried many things and I am not judgmental. Most importantly, I believe I have a westerner’s equivalent command over the English language which helps me connect with my students. I do not know about enterprising, but I always had a tangential way of thinking, which helps me explore different avenues of life.
How did you come upon the idea of teaching expats? And when did you begin?
I began in August 2011.I began as I realized there were not many institutions/people doing it sincerely and for the sheer love of doing it. I wanted a good remuneration, respectable job, flexibility and something which gives me a bit of a financial freedom along with exposure to people from all across the globe.
Enjoying the learning
Which all countries do your students hail from? And what demographics of professionals have you covered?
I’ve taught people from each continent of the world. I’ve taught each kind, from Bollywood backdrop dancers and models to students, official diplomats and foreigners married to Indians. My proud addition to the list is William Dalrymple, a famous Historian and Author.
Students from the star marked countries
Though your job sounds interesting, I’m sure there might be difficulties that you may have encountered on the way. You take your work seriously. But how serious are your students with respect to learning the language? And how has been your experience of the work so far?
The experience has been highly positive. Along with increasing my confidence and giving me a worldly exposure, this job has given me some of my closest friends and memorable experiences. Yes, there were a few not-so-good encounters, but nothing can be all rosy and great.
As for the sincerity of the students, some are extremely smart and hardworking, while some cancel at the last notice. Those working generally prefer to have classes during the weekends but I have taken classes at Macquarie’s and RBS’s (Royal Bank of Scotland) Offices. By virtue of their demanding jobs (unless unemployed or a student), most of my students do not have time for revision or doing the homework, so they choose to practice more by having more lessons.
Making learning an interactive process
How have your friends and family reacted to the work you do?
Family is proud. Friends are pleasantly surprised. Everyone has been supportive and that helps. Most of my friends (laughs) are very excited to know more about my foreign students and frequently express their wish to meet with them.
Making friends on the go
Finally, what have you learnt from this experience and where do you plan to head next?
My biggest learning from this job, I would say, is my broadening of spectrum of understanding and common perception about people. And next I would want to seep into corporate alliance and work at Embassy/Consulate Offices offering my Tutor services. Let’s see how that pans out. *Fingers Crossed*
This vibrant girl with her endearing smile and simplistic style is an inspiring force for the youngsters today who are full of wonderful ideas but are hesitant to execute them. Hoping she continues with the same verve and vigor, we wish Pallavi a very best of luck from the team of One World News.