Jillian Rodriguez

Recent Posts

Meet Your Mangos: Eon Rodrigo

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Jul 23, 2014 2:55:04 PM

Listen, language and culture, it’s time to stop hogging the limelight. Sure, you’re endlessly fascinating and enriching, but so are the people who bring you to life with fun, effective language-learning resources. We’re talking about the awesome brainiacs (okay, mad scientists) that make up the Mango family tree. They’re bright, bold, and just the right amount of crazy, and it’s time to shine a spotlight on the Mangos in the Grove.

We’re kicking things off with the man behind the Mango. Eon Rodrigo is our brilliant In-house Designer; it’s been said he was born with a silver pencil in his hand, and he’s the reason Mango’s newly redesigned user portal makes you feel all warm, fuzzy, and motivated inside. We revoked his Photoshop privileges for the hour to pick his brain, talk shop, and try to get some dirt on him. Instead, we’re just crossing our fingers for an invite to Eon’s Friday night hang-outs; filled with good food, friends, and whiskey.

Tell us what you do at Mango.

I'm the In-house Designer at Mango Languages. I have my hands in many different aspects of the company, from design, marketing, and brand identity development all the way to UI/UX (translation: User Interface, User Experience). Working for Mango is the first time I'm working as a design professional. I've been with the company for almost 3 years and I have learned so much from marketing to branding and now, product design.

Mango’s new user portal is awesome, and you designed it. Talk about that process.

At first, I was only assigned to create the language icons on the Mango Connect user portal, but looking at the project as a whole, it inspired me to work on everything from the menu all the way down to the course cards. I wanted the language icons to give you this feeling that you’re looking out of an airplane window towards your destination, and you can see a landmark in the distance. I feel that if we try to evoke this feeling of adventure and exploration out of the interface, it adds to the motivation of our users to really engage in learning a new language.

It's also now more user-friendly because we've reduced the steps it takes to get in and get started. Before, as a user, it would take seven clicks just to get to a course. Now, it only takes three. It's also easier to log in or create an account from within Mango Connect. It was exciting for me to take on the challenge of weaving our marketing into the product so that we as a company can better communicate with our users.

Now let’s talk about you. Tell us about your interests, background, and – of course – your language and culture.

I was born in the town of Batac, Ilocos Norte, Philippines which has now grown into a bustling city. I moved to the U.S. when I was 12 years old. I speak Tagalog (national language of the Philippines), Ilocano (another language of the Philippines), and English.

Growing up, I used to go to an internet cafe with friends to play video games. One day, the owner of the cafe was working on something on the computer and out of curiosity, I asked what it was. This is when I was introduced to Photoshop. It was intriguing for me to see how you can create art on the computer. As a kid, I grew up drawing and sketching. So much so that I would get teased and people would say I came out of my mom's womb holding a pencil. Just the idea of creating something from nothing is almost freeing in a way, it’s therapeutic.

Outside of Mango, I enjoy doing art, drinking good whiskey, eating good food, and traveling. I have this belief that food is what really brings people together from all over the world. I think food is a great reflection of the different cultures that the world has to offer. In my down time, when I'm not stuffing my face and getting culturally intimate with food, I cut hair, which is something I find peace in when nothing else works. I'm also into sneakers, cars, and the art of rhyming. Anything that involves some kind of creativity, I find fascinating.

Final question: why Mango?

I love working at Mango because of the company culture and the people that work here. I wake up every day eager to learn something new. I get excited knowing that I have room for growth personally and professionally within the company. It's a great feeling when parts of my ideas end up inside the product. I love when we have Cultural Potlucks and everyone brings in food from their own culture. Without fail, I always get seconds and I end up loving and hating myself at the same time for over eating.

Sometimes, it’s a bit surreal for me that I design for a living. It's like a mixture of delight, disbelief, and amazement. It's like having a pile of puzzle pieces and the one you happen to grab fits perfectly with what you've put together so far.

That’s how we feel about you, Eon – you were Mango's missing puzzle piece (awww!). Stay tuned for more Meet Your Mangos, coming soon!

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Five scientifically proven ways to keep you motivated when learning a new language.

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Jul 9, 2014 9:47:48 AM

Science makes the world go round, and language learning is no exception. We’re always looking to pull back the curtain and explore the magic behind successful, effective language-learning. A recent article published by The Guardian explains why motivation is key when learning a new language, and why wanting to learn is so important. If you’re in a summer slump or simply looking to up the ante on your language-learning ambitions, we've gathered up five scientifically proven methods to increase motivation and enjoy more language-learning success. On your mark, get set, go: here’s your formula for achieving language-learning success.

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Happy Independence Day, From Us to You.

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Jul 4, 2014 11:11:40 AM

Three cheers for the red, white, and blue. Today is July 4th, 2014, and on this day in history, the United States of America declared independence from Britain and put our country on the path to freedom. But you already knew that, judging from that star-spangled t-shirt and American flag temporary tattoo plastered across your face. We’re right there with you.

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We Can't Wait for ALA 2014!

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Jun 20, 2014 9:59:43 AM

Chicago, Anaheim, New Orleans, D.C: we've been all across the country with ALA. The American Library Association’s Annual Conference & Exhibition has left its mark on some of America’s top destination cities, and next up is Vegas. The casinos, the entertainment, the spectacle of lights, the over 1.2K librarian attendees confirmed on Facebook alone – it’s going to be an awesome six days.

If you’re attending ALA 2014, you’ll spend your days expanding your social network, building your knowledge, and improving your profession. Surrounded by the country’s most motivated, influential, and attractive (hey, it’s true) librarians and related professionals, you’ll network all day and party all night. This year’s conference theme is Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves – and what better place for some transformation than Sin City? Vegas’ reputation precedes it, and we’re excited to see how the strip’s contagious adrenaline and bottomless opportunity inspires you throughout the conference. We've already harnessed our inner Vegas and this year, Team Mango is celebrating ALA 2014 in World Cup fashion – and we want you to join us.

Since the World Cup began, you've likely encountered the top-volume cheers, jeers, and downright screams of die-hard World Cup fans at your local bars, around your neighborhood, or even at work (especially if you’re a Mango!) We take full responsibility for our actions, and we’ve loved every minute of the craziness. During ALA 2014, stop by booth #1163 and catch World Cup fever, Mango style. We’ll deck you out in beads, raise a mango smoothie, and say “saúde” to all the latest offerings from Mango™.

Long-term Mango customers and prospective recruits alike are invited to come hang out at our booth and explore the new happenings from Mango, including extended content in 30 languages, a new specialty course collection (Soccer Celebration in Brazilian Portuguese, anyone?), and language-learning through movies (demo Mango Premiere here!). We’re also excited to introduce our course placement tests, apps for Kindle® and Nook®, and exclusive soccer-themed swag, reserved for our ALA comrades only. Mango’s offerings are all designed to provide effective, lovable language-learning resources to libraries and their patrons, and we’re constantly evolving to better serve your institutions. It’s what we do, and we love it.

You know what else we like to do? Party.

All day long and into the night, Mango will be fueling your fun with fab freebies, fruity smoothies, and free month trials of Mango – and come Saturday night, we’re partnering with EveryLibrary and Treehouse to throw a Vegas-style VIP party for all ALA attendees. Join us Saturday, June 28th from 9pm – 2am (that’s right, we stay up late) at the Arts Factory for a night of dancing, drinking (open bar!), and oh yeah – magic tricks. It’s Vegas, so we hired a magician. Bring your conference badge, bring your dancing shoes, and bring your camera – after all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless you Instagram it (#ALAAC14).

We’ll learn all day and dance all night, raising a glass (or a few!) to another fabulous year in the wonderful world of libraries. ALA 2014 is almost here – we’ll see you soon!

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Let the Fun Begin: The Annual 2014 ALA Conference After-Hours Party

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Jun 4, 2014 10:09:00 AM

We know one thing to be true: Mangos just wanna have fun. Mango wasn’t around in 1983, so we have to forgive Cyndi Lauper for overlooking us – but that won’t stop us from having some fun when the working day is done. This year, the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition is headed to Vegas, and we’re ready to party. All day long and into the night, Mango will be fueling your fun with fab freebies, fruity smoothies (stop by and see us at booth #1163!), and most importantly – our annual ALA After Hours party.

We’re thrilled to take on Vegas with the country’s finest library leaders – after all, this year Mango’s become bigger and brighter than ever before, and we have so much to celebrate. With a conference theme of “Transforming Our Libraries, Transforming Ourselves,” we can’t wait to hear what you’ve done this year, and what you have in store. But we have one spoiler alert: there's a giant party waiting for you at this year’s ALA, and you won’t want to miss it.

This year, we’re partnering with EveryLibrary and Treehouse to throw a Vegas-style party for all ALA VIPs (Very Important Participants), and you’re on the guest list. Join us Saturday, June 28th from 9pm – 2am (that’s right, we stay up late) at the Arts Factory for a night of dancing, drinking (open bar!), and oh yeah – magic tricks. It’s Vegas, so we hired a magician. Bring your conference badge, bring your dancing shoes, and bring your camera – after all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless you Instagram it.

This year, our partners-in-crime are the good folks at Treehouse, a leading organization dedicated to bringing affordable technology education to people around the world. Just like us, they’re big-time library lovers, and we’re excited to party together in the name of the EveryLibrary, a nonprofit that works exclusively to help public, school, and college libraries stay funded and politically-supported on the local level. We like that, and we bet you do, too.

For your hosts, affordability is a pillar: so this year’s party is, as always, free for you – just bring your spare change, your crumpled dollar bills, and your good vibes to support EveryLibrary. We’ll dance the night away and raise a glass (or a few!) to another fabulous year in the wonderful world of libraries.

Ready to party with us After-Hours? RSVP to our Facebook event here – we can’t wait to see you in just a few weeks!

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Five Ways to Keep Kids' Language Learning Fresh This Summer

By Jillian Rodriguez |   May 29, 2014 11:02:05 AM

Summer is around the corner, and for kids of all ages, there will be an inevitable beeline to the nearest bonfire to burn the year’s textbooks, papers, and tests. We want to warn you now: save their foreign language textbooks. Not just because cruelty against foreign language materials deeply pains us, but because this summer, continued learning is crucial for your child’s long-term language-learning success. We define success as measurable, ongoing growth in language and culture learning, conversational confidence in their target language, and a true passion and enthusiasm for their chosen language. There's no better time than summer to make language learning your family's next adventure.

The threat of the “summer slide” is real, and we’re not talking about the cool, fun kind at the water park – although we highly encourage your kids to spend plenty of time there, too. We’re talking about the retention backslide that occurs when the three months of summer pass by and little to no language learning occurs, and kids find themselves losing the valuable skills they learned the year prior. Whether your child is aiming to earn college credit or just trying to avoid the wrath of Herr Gärtner next fall, we have five effective ways to enrich your child’s life with language and culture this summer.

1. Use your community.

In today’s global world, your community is ripe with valuable language and cultural connections that can enrich your child’s language-learning experience. Tap into your social network for fun mentoring, volunteering, and cultural opportunities available in your child’s chosen language. Odds are you’re within six degrees of separation from a native speaker, a teacher, or an expert who is excited to share language and culture with your child this summer. It may come in the form of pen pals, mutual mentoring, or local theater – whatever it is, it'll likely come free. Reach out to your child’s teachers, to your neighbors, friends, and local community centers, and find new and exciting learning opportunities to keep language learning going all summer long.

2. Use media.

In a dream world, summer would mean shutting off screens and spending these three months at one with nature: frolicking in meadows, wading in lakes, and camping out in the woods. We’re sure your family will get a healthy dose of nature this summer, but when the screens do light up, we want you to make the most of it. Research popular shows, music, and literature in your child’s chosen language, and introduce those that align most to their interests. Blast music in their target language when you’re driving them around, stock the house with culturally relevant books and magazines, and watch television shows and movies together in a new language (subtitles optional!).

Do you have a smart phone addict in your family? Redirect the obsession and have them download free language-learning apps to their phone (Mango is fully mobile!), or change their phone’s default language to their target language. How do you say Instagram in Spanish? Not your problem.

3. Use your passport (virtual counts).

If you’re like us, you follow the mantra of the Dalai Lama as closely as possible. And when the Dalai Lama says, “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before,” it’s best to heed his advice. If it’s in the stars for your family to travel abroad this summer, maximize the experience by planning a trip to a locale relevant to your child’s language-learning goals. Immersing your child in a new language and culture is the best crash course out there, and the new experience will create excitement and motivation for continued learning post-trip.

Strapped for cash this summer? Some of the best adventures are unfolding in your own backyard. Around the country, summer cultural festivals and events are taking place, and they are full of native speakers, delicious native foods, and exciting cultural exposure for the whole family. Hop on Google and look up cultural festivals happening in your city, or a major city near you, and let the adventure begin.

4. Use your imagination.

Continued learning is key for maintaining for your child’s language learning between school years. Every effort, big and small, helps build and round out your child’s knowledge and enthusiasm for their new language. Get creative and build language-learning supports based on their interests and passions. If your child is a bookworm, check out fiction in their target language, or books written by the culture’s most famous authors. If you’ve got a hipster on your hands, your child may enjoy immersing themselves in the culture’s fashion, alternative trends, and music. Set their Pandora to a new station, gather up some hip magazines, and watch the language-loving sparks fly.

Summer tends to move quickly, and most families find themselves short on time, money, and even ideas. Save yourself the stress and keep it simple: your local library is a goldmine of resources; including take-home language-learning resources, clubs, books, and community classes for all ages. Take a trip with your child early in the summer and explore the opportunities together.

5. Use Mango.

You knew this was coming. Mango loves company, and we think your summer language-learning endeavors would look great with us by their side. As bright and fun as a summer day, Mango is best served chilled, on the beach with the whole family. We’re suitable for ages six and up, and like a fine wine, we get better with age – meaning the more time your child spends with us, the more they will learn. Our courses use actual conversations to deliver relevant language and culture, increasing retention and comprehension for learners all summer long. For younger learners, we offer Little Pim courses, in which an adorable talking Panda guides your child through kid-friendly language lessons, using repetition and visuals to reinforce vocabulary in a new language.

The moral of the story: language learning can be really fun, especially in the summer. Maximize your child’s three months of freedom by exploring language and culture in new and exciting ways, and even better, do it together. Fingers crossed you'll bring us along for the ride.

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Mango Homeschool: The Results Are In

By Jillian Rodriguez |   May 23, 2014 6:33:28 AM

Every so often, the planets align in a certain way, and magic happens. Mango Languages is a young, growing company (We were born in 2007 – your kids might be older than us!), and for seven years now, we’ve dedicated ourselves to enriching lives with language and culture. Each year, we’re on the hunt for new ways to be bigger and brighter than ever before. We began in public libraries, we branched out to corporate, personal, and K-12 users, and then we met you – homeschooled families, you’re really something special.

What makes Mango Homeschool Edition (yes, we named it just for you) so perfect for your family? Mango’s the one and only trusted resource for building rapid, real-world conversational skills and measurable depth into your child’s chosen language-learning experience. With Mango, language learning is much more than a task – it’s a comprehensive, immersive, and entertaining experience. Better yet, we keep our prices straight-forward and affordable, so that your family can focus more on learning and less on budgeting. Give us a call for a price estimate – we promise we’ll make your jaw drop.

Can you tell we’re excited about Mango Homeschool? We really are. To quote Carly Rae Jepsen (Sorry, we said we were young): Hey, this is crazy, but here’s our free 14-day trial, so call us maybe.

We’re not the only ones talking about Mango’s effective and practical curriculum (although we admit, we started it): the homeschool community is buzzing about the latest and greatest language-learning resource for your curriculum. Here’s the scoop on Mango Homeschool, from users just like you.

1. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. The good folks at Hopkins Homeschool and the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed Mango Homeschool Edition and had this to say:

Does your homeschool curriculum include a foreign language? Just one? Or more than one? Plain old boring books, or a program that teaches you the actual language through speaking? Mango Homeschool Edition is an online program that helps you to add in that foreign language to your homeschool curriculum…over 60 foreign language courses…with your subscription!

We love that the smarty-pants over at Hopkins Homeschool and Schoolhouse Review recognized the unique access Mango Homeschool gives users. With Mango Homeschool, your language-learning journey never has to end. Focus on just one language, broken down into easy-to-learn chapters and journeys, or get acquainted with several languages at once. Our tip: read the blog’s full review and learn more about Mango’s newest superstar, Ray Ray – a five-year-old language guru who proved that our 6 years and older guideline is merely a suggestion. After all, age is just a number.

2. Heather, of A Nurse’s Wildflowers, took to her to blog and composed a perfectly thorough review of Mango Languages Homeschool Edition. A nurse, a wife, a mother of three, and much more, we’re thrilled she found the time to share some thoughts about Mango’s newest program:

The layout throughout the entire course is beautiful and clearly well done. The lessons are clean with no visual distractions. The class moves along with little chunks of language at a time and has review mixed in…the student can click to hear the pronunciation over and over if needed. There is also an option to use a microphone… the student decides when to move on.

Heather, we’re so glad you noticed. Each and every Mango course is developed by a team of experts specific to the language and culture, and we work hard to make sure our content matches our design. In this case, you can judge a book (or a program!) by its cover, and even Heather’s daughter agrees. Heather shared that her 11-year-old daughter, Tee, loved this program, and Heather was able to leave behind her daily routine of nagging Tee to do her work— Tess enjoyed spending time with Mango. We also loved hearing Heather’s suggestions on how Mango Homeschool Edition can better serve her needs and improve our service. We’re only a phone call away, and we can’t wait to hear your ideas.

3. Finally, we were thrilled to read a post from the blog Grace-Filled-Moments, citing her oh-so-positive experiences with Mango Homeschool’s beta version:

The Welcome page greets you and your student each time you log in, and gives you the option to resume the lesson, repeat the lesson, or proceed to the next lesson. I love that the program remembers where you were working each time you re-enter after logging out. If we had completed a lesson, but I felt Caleb needed to review it, I simply chose to repeat the previous day's lesson. I was thrilled to be able to have this option!

That’s right – with Mango Homeschool, parents are always in the driver’s seat. As a teacher, you’re able to control when and how your students move on in their courses, and you can track their progress with the program’s admin portal and usage tools. You can supplement your child’s lesson with our comprehensive, course curriculum outlines, available as printable PDFs to track and reinforce your child’s daily work. We also highly recommend reading Grace-Filled-Moments’ full Mango review – one little Mango-in-training, Caleb, took our coveted Pirate course and the results wildly exceed our expectations. You go, Caleb.

We feel like we just won Parent-Teacher conferences, and we won’t lie – it’s a good feeling. We’re so excited to join the homeschooled community and help enrich students’ lives with language and culture. How can Mango Homeschool Edition prepare your child for success in today’s global world? Call us up, try us out (for free!), or send us a postcard in your favorite language – we can’t wait to hear from you.

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Six Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer Travels

By Jillian Rodriguez |   May 13, 2014 9:40:51 AM

When the weather starts to warm up, we start daydreaming about jet-setting. Predictably, we've been bitten by the travel bug, and we can't wait to start exploring. Summer is the perfect time to hop on a plane, jump into your car, or even travel by sea to new and exciting places around the world. Wherever your travels take you, we know you want to make the most out of your whirlwind trips and spontaneous adventures. But the plight of the tourist is real: navigating, communicating, and exploring in a new place can be a serious challenge, and it's pretty tempting to simply stick to the basic tourist tropes in lieu of venturing out on your own. Upgrade your status from tourist to true explorer with a few simple tips and tricks that'll make the most of your globe-trotting this summer.

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ASTD 2014: 5 Reasons to Love Mango Corporate Edition

By Jillian Rodriguez |   May 1, 2014 10:11:40 AM

Where in the world is Mango headed next? We’re packing our bags (and swag) to spend May 4-7 with the good people of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) for their 2014 Conference in Washington D.C. As the premier event for training and development professionals, we’re pretty excited to spend the week connecting with over 9,000 innovators from around the country and the world. We love the corporate world, and they love us. As you gear up for ASTD 2014 (even the acronym sounds epic), you may be wondering if Mango Languages Corporate Edition is right for your organization. Short answer: it is. Wondering why? We're so glad that you asked.

1. Innovative, relevant global training for your employees.

ASTD is all about providing the tools and resources necessary to move your organization forward. When you add Mango’s resources to your staff’s toolkit, you’re opening up a world of possibilities. As your office transforms into a hub for language and cultural literacy, language barriers and cultural blunders become a thing of the past. But we have to warn you: your employees will likely start bringing exotic cuisine to work, hosting fabulous cultural celebrations, and wearing a LOT of bright, fun colors to work – we take full ownership of that last side effect. It’s a small price to pay for the major global upgrade.

2. Limitless access to 50 languages and 15 unique English courses.

Looking to brush up on your Mandarin? Have employees that want to improve their English? Need to learn basic greetings in several different languages? Wherever you want to go, Mango can get you there. We offer limitless access to 50 full language courses, along with courses for English language learners, designed in 15 different native languages. Our courses focus on relevant content for lucrative conversations – our motto is useful stuff, without the fluff. Our straightforward, engaging courses will quickly get your employees communicating with clients and partners – and they’ll be able to help you order take-out from that Thai restaurant with the insanely complicated menu. The benefits know no bounds.

3. Fully mobile, no hassle, on the go learning.

Your employees are on the go, and so are we. Stuck at a hotel and the Wi-Fi is out? No problem, Mango’s free mobile apps don’t require it. Our full course catalog is available on mobile devices and tablets, so that your employees can do their learning by train, plane, and automobile (passengers only!). Mango Corporate Edition also offers Mango On-The-Go, the complete audio from our courses, available as mp3s. Extra bonus: users can share their full Mango account with an unlimited number of family members so that they can learn together in the home or around town. Family vacation to Europe this summer? We think so.

4. Simple, straightforward tools prove your return.

We know you're busy, and we want to help. Mango’s easy administration means that you can track usage, statistics, and prove your return with the click of a button. Sign in to the Mango Admin Portal and check out the top languages studied and employee usage to see just how much your employees love Mango – and to find out who’s going to insist on an in-office Cinco de Mayo party.

5. Direct, personal support from Holli.

Meet, Holli. She's your go-to girl to get you and your employees trained up, help you market Mango to your employees, and get the most out of your subscription.

Think you’re ready to learn more about Mango? Stop by Booth 1009 for a Mango Languages Corporate Edition demo, to learn about our special 30 day free trial, and meet Holli in person (!!). And, of course, try one of our legendary free smoothies. We’ll see you soon, ASTD 2014!

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5 Things Shakespeare Gave to Modern Society

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Apr 23, 2014 11:14:57 AM

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare! You may be turning 450, but to us, you don’t look a day over 300. Your impact on today’s society keeps you young – your plays are reenacted by kids and adults across the globe, your invented words are used in the English language on the daily, and your style is as fresh as ever. You’re a pioneer of English language, literature, and culture – so it’s no surprise that we’re a big fan. And if there’s one thing Shakespeare would love, it’s a list of his top five contributions to modern society, right? Shakespeare, do you know about social media? Either way, we love you in 140 characters and then some. Here’s why.

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