Last Updated on August 24, 2023
Connect with Camille
Learn English With Camille
Camille Hanson is a YouTube and Instagram influencer and language teacher inspiring the world to learn American English and other languages through fun videos. Camille’s website, learnenglishwithcamille.com, is home to many helpful videos, a blog, English coaching, free resources and books. Short Travel Stories for English Learners features true stores written with English language learners in mind and includes original photos from Camille’s journeys around the world. In addition to her website, you can also find Camille on Facebook and TikTok.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, including how you became a language teacher?
My name is Camille. I was born and raised in the upper peninsula of Michigan and I’m currently in South Carolina. So, I did not go to university to teach, to become an English teacher. But, I fell in love with language learning and in my journey of language learning, I was helping people learn English while they were helping me learn their native language.
So, I’ve learned to a fairly good level Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French. So, it’s been about two years that I’ve been on this journey of teaching English to hopefully the whole world and I love it.
You produce a lot of content on a continual basis. Do you have a team for this or is this something you’re kind of doing on your own?
So, [it’s] me and then my husband. He’s a graphic designer. He edits a lot of my videos. He was actually editing a video behind before this interview. And then, we have a friend in Spain who also helps with some of our editing as well. But, my books and things like that… We self-publish on Amazon and then I do most of my editing for my Instagram content.
Tell us about your book, Short Travel Stories for English Learners. I was reading about it. How many languages is it available in?
I think this book is in six or seven languages. Short Travel Stories… It was my first book and I love to travel, so I’ve been to 41 countries. Travel is a huge part of my life. We have three kids, so now they’re just along for the journey with traveling. Since both me and my husband work online, we can travel and we feel that freedom and then our kids will just do online school while we’re taking trips.
I love language learning through parallel books. Like, when I’m learning French, I like to have English text and the French text. It’s really helpful. And, a lot of parallel books just have kind of boring stories in them and I was like, “I have some amazing travel stories. What if I wrote a book and had it translated into these different languages?.” And so, that’s what we did. So, there’s 26 stories and I think… Yeah. Six languages and it’s currently… I’ve had people reach out to me being like, “Can I translate your book in my language?.” And, I’m like, “Yes, you can.” So, it’s being translated in Arabic and German at the moment.
I’m interested in your approach to learning languages because you say that there are no shortcuts, but you don’t have to necessarily be gifted. So, tell us about learning how to learn a language.
I think a lot of language learners, they are so motivated in the first month maybe. They’re like, “Yes. I’m going to learn Japanese.” And then, they’re like, “Oh my gosh. This is a lot harder than I thought.” And then, they’re like, “Forget it.” And, they quit. So, I think if you learn how to learn a language, then you can learn any language. And so, my approach for learning my first foreign language was very old school because I didn’t know. It was about almost a decade ago in Mexico. We lived with a host family that only spoke Spanish and me and my husband went to a private tutor and she did a grammatical approach, so we got up to, I think, C one level of grammar. And, by the end of the three months, we were speaking broken Spanish.
Since then, I have kind of just taught myself with online resources, but a key is contacting natives. So, through apps, online apps, you can meet native speakers. I have phone calls every day with somebody from somewhere in the world to practice one of the languages that I speak and I feel like it’s the most close to real life without being in the country.
And then, I love apps for… Like, Duolingo and things like that for just little bits in a day. It’s not my main thing. I really love YouTube videos, which is partly why I started a YouTube channel as well. Watching videos and there’s a lot of teachers now where they just speak slower and it’s geared towards the language learner. So, I try to do that in my videos as well but I make it about like real. So, we’ll do a vlog in slow English and then people can feel like, “Wow. I’m understanding English because it’s not super fast.” If that makes sense.
I’m interested, because I’ve heard people say this: English is one of the harder languages to learn because it’s illogical a lot of times. Is that fair to say?
I think so. A lot of people, though, have said English is one of the easier languages to me and I’m like, okay. So, I don’t know. I’m a native English speaker. You know? So, I’ve never… I’m not really sure.
What is your “improper English pet peeve”?
So, now I always hear, even my own parents, [say things like]: “I don’t have nobody”
And, I’m like: “no…”
“We don’t do double negative. It’s, “I don’t have anybody.”” or, “”I ain’t going… I ain’t going to do nothing about it.”” So, that is one of them that I hear a lot. It’s so funny.
How do you structure your average week? Or, maybe it’s month to month with all the traveling you’re doing to accommodate your content creation and coaching?
So, that’s a great question. I have some help when I’m here in the states a few days a week. Like, my in-laws take my kids because I have three kids and they’re three, five and eight years old, so yeah. And then, me and my husband manage and run our Airbnbs as well and then we have all of our content creation. So… And then, language learning. It’s a huge part of my life as well. So, all of those things.
I try to be productive and nice to myself as well. Like, if I don’t get something done in the day, I’m like, it’s okay. Like, you’ll get it done tomorrow. And then, I try to just enjoy the things that I’m doing because I love teaching and I love learning and I don’t want to ever lose that joy. You know, I feel so blessed that I get to do what I love and I want to maintain that rhythm of loving what I do. So, I really try to enjoy every aspect of it.
I also prioritize. I’m learning how to do this because if you don’t prioritize certain tasks, then they just sometimes don’t get done for another week or two or three. So, really just looking at my day and being like, “Camille, what is the most important thing that you have to do today?.” And then, making sure that I go after that first when I have the most energy, when I have the most time, and then I feel like, okay. If I can get that one task done, then it really… The rest of the things, they don’t matter so much.
What are some of the goals that you have for the remainder of the year? Do you have any new books or any new programs? You have a lot of free resources on your site that people really need to check out. What’s in the pipeline?
I have a book coming out soon with American English pronunciation and I’m wanting to do a course with that as well. And then, our book that is translated in so many languages… There’s people that are like, “I don’t speak those languages.” So, I actually did a revised version of this book just in English with a huge vocabulary list and many quizzes at the end of every story. So, it’s something that somebody from any country can benefit. It doesn’t have the translation but it’s all in English. It still has the audio and I think that will be really fun. Books are my thing lately, so more and more books. I love learning with books and as well as continually creating content for my YouTube channel and TikTok and Instagram. And, we’ll see what else happens. I do plan on starting Turkish in September as well.
Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.
Andrew is the Head of Client Services for Intellifluence and has a background in communications. He is committed to helping brands get the most out of their campaigns and is the co-host of the Influencer Spotlight series.