Learnlight Success Stories: Miguel Barros Figueira On Connecting With Saudi Arabian Culture
Learnlight is delighted to be celebrating 15 years of helping learners from around the globe upskill their professional language, communication, and intercultural skills. In this series, we interviewed some of our learners to understand how learning a new language transformed their professional lives.
Imperial Brands is one of many global companies that works with Learnlight in order to deliver language support to their international teams. Miguel Barros Figueira is the Market Manager at Imperial Brands in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As a Portuguese and Angolan national, he speaks fluent English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. With the help from Learnlight, Miguel is successfully adding Arabic to his already-impressive roster of languages.
Learning Local Arabic With Learnlight
Miguel has worked at Imperial Brands for six years, driving critical marketing and sales initiatives, and overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. He began his career with Imperial Brands in Casablanca, Morocco, where he picked up the basics of Moroccan Arabic. But because Moroccan Arabic varies considerably from the Arabic spoken in Saudi Arabia, Miguel knew he would have to study the regional dialect to connect with locals.
“I believe that speaking the language, even at the basic level, helps to truly connect with locals and understand the mindset of the local culture,” he said. Miguel took the opportunity offered by Imperial Brands to work with Learnlight, because he wanted to make sure he could have basic conversations when visiting customers and in his day-to-day life, whether he was shopping, grabbing a taxi, or asking for directions.
Learnlight has helped him do just that. In just four months of working with a Learnlight instructor, Miguel has felt his Arabic abilities gain momentum. “I’m still speaking Arabic at a basic level,” he said, “but I can understand the direction of every conversation. I feel comfortable going anywhere and finding my way around, even if I’m alone.”
Learnlight Instructors Make All the Difference
Miguel also noted that forming a genuine connection with his Learnlight instructor has helped him gain traction in learning the language. “I had the amazing opportunity to be connected with a Learnlight trainer who quickly understood my needs and language goals,” he said. “He’s more than just my teacher. I consider him more like a friend. We share a lot in common, even beyond the language program.”
Miguel is confident that he’ll be able to converse with his Arabic customers in the coming months. And we’re pretty sure that soon enough, he’ll be adding Arabic to his long list of fluent languages spoken.
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