125 Ways to Start (and Maintain) a Conversation in English

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Are you learning English and want to start real conversations with native English speakers? Or perhaps you’re learning another language, and would like ideas for how to get speaking practice. I know it can be scary to start a conversation with someone, or to join a group conversation – especially in your second language. You might be […]

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Negotiation Tactics: How to Haggle Like Your Life Depends on It

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Here’s a secret: most people in the world don’t pay the price on the label. Instead, they negotiate a better deal. They haggle. Those of us who live in the Western world are so used to paying the price we’re told that we don’t even think to negotiate. That works okay when we’re at home […]

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Shit My Non-American Boyfriend Says

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To celebrate the 4th of July (American Independence Day) we’re running a bit of a “revenge post”. Why? Well, because as you may know, I once wrote a pretty popular critique about American culture. I meant it to be tongue in cheek, and I wrote it years ago, but to this day, no one ever lets me […]

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How to Learn a Language While Studying Abroad

Studying Abroad Buddy Group

After I finished my university degree and moved to Spain, most of my initial friends there were not Spaniards but exchange students learning Spanish. Europe’s Erasmus programme brings together students who are interested in the cultural and language exchange options of spending one of their university years (usually the 3rd) in a foreign country. Similar […]

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Learn to Speak Persian: Your Complete Guide

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Not to be one to neglect languages that don’t get so much exposure (regardless of number of speakers), I wanted to invite someone to give us a detailed overview of Persian, how to learn it, and why it’s easier than you think it is.  So I invited Tom Allen of Tom’s Bike Trip to come to the […]

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Stories from India: Life at Palolem beach and the Taj

bennytaj1280

I just arrived in Melbourne, Australia after spending the last month and a half in India, and the last several months in Asia in general – mostly in more “rugged’ environments like Chiang Mai, Bali, and most recently Palolem beach in Goa. I have to say that I’m very glad to be back in civilization […]

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Benny Goes to Oz

Outback Kangaroo Sign

Hey language hackers! Today I write to you from… Australia! This is a HUGE first for me, as I’ve been waiting to add this country to my list for years, and you all have been asking me for years why I’ve been neglecting this continent… Well, now I’m finally here! I’m thrilled to be here, […]

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Here’s why other countries think you’re weird

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One of the main reasons I travel so much is that I find it fascinating to see how different people are across different cultures. For new travellers, some of these differences can make people from other countries seem completely weird or just plain rude. Simple things you take for granted as being done in a […]

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A Month Living in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia [Travel Update]

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This past month, I have expanded the list of countries I’ve lived in by one (I’ll be doing it again early next year, more on that later!), and today I am happy to tell you all about my experience in Bali, Indonesia. I’d never been to Indonesia before, which looking back on, is hard to […]

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8 Lessons Learned from Visiting Every Country in the World

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One of the most popular posts on this blog is my 29 life lessons learned in travelling the world (for 8 years straight). I’ve personally been to a couple of dozen countries, but then there are people like my friend Chris Guillebeau. He has been to every single country on earth! I’ve met Chris on […]

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The Unglamorous Side of Being a World Traveler

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“I wish I could travel all the time – it seems like a dream come true!” I read something along these lines on Quora the other day, and all I could think while reading it is that while travel is one of the most worthwhile things I’ve done in my life, travelling ALL THE TIME is […]

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