Meet Karen Hedringer {Language Acquisition Specialist}

Jun 8, 2020 | 1 comment

In honor of language acquisition, let’s start off with a bit of Latin: regula.

Regula is associated with a bar or trellis that a plant grows on. Like a plant, we humans are always growing and changing. “But when there is no order, growth can take something that was supposed to produce fruit and turn it in into a twisted vine of decay.” (from The Common Rule)

Here at Global Trellis, we are—and want to continue to be—cross-cultural workers who grow and change. With this in mind, today, we will add another rung to the trellis of “specialists” who build into you, so that your soul is tended and your skill set expands, allowing you to implement God’s call. So far the rungs of this trellis involve: Tim Austin (life coach/transitions), Lauren Wells (TCK), Katie Brown (grief), Jenilee Goodwin (life hacks), Daniel Whitt (financial), Mark Hedinger (culture), and Lori Ferrell (spiritual director).

It is with great excitement we introduce Karen Hedringer to you today. Karen loves language acquisition so much that she’s currently working on a doctorate degree in second language acquisition! What you might not be able to tell is that Karen also has an infectious laugh; so as you read this, picture her smiling and laughing as she answers the questions.

Without further ado, reader, this is Karen.

Karen, could you please share a bit about your or your family’s experience overseas.

Our family lived and worked in Mexico for 12 years, working at a rural Bible school where staff and students all spoke Spanish as their second language. We had the privilege of being the only Americans on campus and loved living and working with national staff and students. After turning the school over to Mexican leadership, we moved to a big city where my husband taught at a seminary and I worked with a small group of nationals to start a deaf work. Fun fact: Mexican sign language is about 95% different from American sign language. Our company’s office asked us to come back to the States to work in the home office—a hard decision to make. 

Where are you now? What are you up to? 

My husband and I live in Portland, OR. We work for a group called CultureBound working with and training people who are entering a new language and culture whether that is overseas or in their backyard. I direct the language acquisition training.

What draws you to helping cross-cultural workers with second language acquisition on the field?

I am passionate about language acquisition on the field, because I had no training when I went and languished in my language and culture acquisition for the first few years. Just having a few tools would have not only propelled me forward in language learning, but I could have done so while building relationships with people around me who were willing to engage with me and my faltering Spanish. I also love to see global workers expand their world through living and interacting with others in another language and culture.

Karen, thank you for your interest in adding the rung of “language” to the Global Trellis! We look forward to your first post in two days. Welcome!

Have you ever been unsure what to do when locals tell you things they feel safe telling you because you are an outsider? Or felt in over your head when expats come to you for unofficial counseling? The Counseling 101 for Lay People workshop is for you.

Amy Young

Life enthusiast. Author. Sports lover. Jesus follower. Supporting cross-cultural work.



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