Will learning new languages help you pick up girls?

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Last summer, a huge publication asked if I would write an article for them about How learning languages will help you chat up girls. … As nice as it would have been to be in that big magazine, I said no thanks. Then, since it was just before the World Cup, they made me a […]

Last summer, a huge publication asked if I would write an article for them about How learning languages will help you chat up girls. … As nice as it would have been to be in that big magazine, I said no thanks. Then, since it was just before the World Cup, they made me a […]

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The 23 strangest habits you’ll pick up after living in 23 different countries

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I have lived in twenty one countries; that’s lived as in, spent at least a month (usually three, and over a year in some) in the country where I invested serious time into speaking its language (or already spoke its language on arrival) and tried to investigate its culture and made local friends.

This list is; Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Belgium, Colombia, the US, Canada, Ireland, UK, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Egypt, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, India, the Philippines, Thailand, China, Taiwan. (I’ve also visited Poland, Uruguay, Singapore, Austria, Slovakia, Norway, and Mexico for a few days or weeks, but definitely wouldn’t consider myself to have lived in any of these and was more of a tourist, and I’ve had a flight transfer through a bunch other countries for a few hours, which I wouldn’t count at all).

I can point you to travellers who have been to many more countries than I have (most of whom have been travelling way less than I have, so it really shows the different speeds we travel at), but my style of travel and theirs is very different and I feel like I have gotten to know the modern cultures of each of these countries much more than the majority of passers-through ever do.

I have lived in twenty one countries; that’s lived as in, spent at least a month (usually three, and over a year in some) in the country where I invested serious time into speaking its language (or already spoke its language on arrival) and tried to investigate its culture and made local friends.

This list is; Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Belgium, Colombia, the US, Canada, Ireland, UK, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Egypt, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, India, the Philippines, Thailand, China, Taiwan. (I’ve also visited Poland, Uruguay, Singapore, Austria, Slovakia, Norway, and Mexico for a few days or weeks, but definitely wouldn’t consider myself to have lived in any of these and was more of a tourist, and I’ve had a flight transfer through a bunch other countries for a few hours, which I wouldn’t count at all).

I can point you to travellers who have been to many more countries than I have (most of whom have been travelling way less than I have, so it really shows the different speeds we travel at), but my style of travel and theirs is very different and I feel like I have gotten to know the modern cultures of each of these countries much more than the majority of passers-through ever do.

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Nubian history: discussion in Arabic about ethnic group in Egypt

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After leaving Cairo, the first stop on my Egyptian travels was Aswan, the furthest south in the country where you can find a major settled area, and where the Egyptian part of the Nile begins after Lake “Nasser” and the High Dam.

By far, the most interesting part of my time there was discovering things about the ethnic group known as the Nubians, which at one point in history were able to overpower the Pharaohs of Egypt, but have had an unfortunate history of displacement and migration, especially in the last century.

To share that story, I let Gasser M. Anwar, a Nubian working in the tourist industry, take the microphone to share his perspective on it all with us. With subtitles in English and Arabic as always!

After leaving Cairo, the first stop on my Egyptian travels was Aswan, the furthest south in the country where you can find a major settled area, and where the Egyptian part of the Nile begins after Lake “Nasser” and the High Dam.

By far, the most interesting part of my time there was discovering things about the ethnic group known as the Nubians, which at one point in history were able to overpower the Pharaohs of Egypt, but have had an unfortunate history of displacement and migration, especially in the last century.

To share that story, I let Gasser M. Anwar, a Nubian working in the tourist industry, take the microphone to share his perspective on it all with us. With subtitles in English and Arabic as always!

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Walking from the Nile to the pyramids, and the people I met on the way

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Don’t worry, video updates in Arabic are coming soon Today I’ve just recorded the first of many videos to document my time in this country, and it should be on my Youtube channel by Monday (need time to upload HD videos on slow connections, as well as subtitling). But first, it’s time for another written […]

Don’t worry, video updates in Arabic are coming soon Today I’ve just recorded the first of many videos to document my time in this country, and it should be on my Youtube channel by Monday (need time to upload HD videos on slow connections, as well as subtitling). But first, it’s time for another written […]

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Esperanto video and how useful the language can be: Interview with a Buddhist monk and tour of monastery

Fun video to share with you today… in Esperanto! Click “CC” to activate subtitles in English (as well as original Esperanto), or if you’re in China (and not using VPN software to circumnavigate the “Great Firewall of China” as I’m clearly doing to be able to use Youtube) then check it out on Youku. I […]

Fun video to share with you today… in Esperanto! Click “CC” to activate subtitles in English (as well as original Esperanto), or if you’re in China (and not using VPN software to circumnavigate the “Great Firewall of China” as I’m clearly doing to be able to use Youtube) then check it out on Youku. I […]

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Benny’s 1 month level of Mandarin: Lantern festival interviews!

[Make sure to enable captions in either English or original traditional Chinese. If Youtube is blocked for you, you can watch the video on Youku] Here it is! My one month point in my 3-month Mandarin mission, shared on video! The first few seconds are me reading a prepared text off camera to practice speaking […]

[Make sure to enable captions in either English or original traditional Chinese. If Youtube is blocked for you, you can watch the video on Youku] Here it is! My one month point in my 3-month Mandarin mission, shared on video! The first few seconds are me reading a prepared text off camera to practice speaking […]

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What does Quechua sound like? Traditional fabric/dyeing presentation in “runasimi”!

My mission to learn a little Quechua (a.k.a. “Runasimi”, the language of the Incas) has been so fascinating!! I’ve recorded lots of video footage about my experience here in the Andes, including my four day adventure hike towards Machu Picchu that I’ll edit to share some time in January, and even footage of me using […]

My mission to learn a little Quechua (a.k.a. “Runasimi”, the language of the Incas) has been so fascinating!! I’ve recorded lots of video footage about my experience here in the Andes, including my four day adventure hike towards Machu Picchu that I’ll edit to share some time in January, and even footage of me using […]

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17 cultural clashes this European had in America

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Warning: If you are pissed off easily, don’t read this post. Although plenty of (American) commenters agree with me, I’m also getting a flood of angry comments and hatemail, but this is my (as always) frank and honest non-watered-down opinion, take it or leave it! Read on to the conclusion to see my positive thoughts […]

Warning: If you are pissed off easily, don’t read this post. Although plenty of (American) commenters agree with me, I’m also getting a flood of angry comments and hatemail, but this is my (as always) frank and honest non-watered-down opinion, take it or leave it! Read on to the conclusion to see my positive thoughts […]

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Multilingual San Francisco: Susanna takes on Spanish, Italian & Russian; Benny interviews Brazilians in Portuguese [video]

Title explains it all! I met up with Susanna, who has guest posted for this blog on the topic of “Language is music” and who has her own site about language learning, and she had a great idea to make a multilingual video together to show how any city in the states has plenty of […]

Title explains it all! I met up with Susanna, who has guest posted for this blog on the topic of “Language is music” and who has her own site about language learning, and she had a great idea to make a multilingual video together to show how any city in the states has plenty of […]

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The Cavan Fleadh: Irish music and culture festival [flashmob & music videos]

While the role of a traveller is usually to investigate foreign cultures, in some cases we can actually find quite a lot right home. In August I went back to my home town, Cavan, in Ireland and found precisely that! My home turned into a carnival of traditional Irish music and some dancing and even […]

While the role of a traveller is usually to investigate foreign cultures, in some cases we can actually find quite a lot right home. In August I went back to my home town, Cavan, in Ireland and found precisely that! My home turned into a carnival of traditional Irish music and some dancing and even […]

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Spending a week in the desert at Burning Man

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Watch this video I made back in 2008 about a very interesting event that takes place in the desert in Nevada. You can also listen to the commentary (with subtitles for the interviews) in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Irish and Esperanto. This is where I’m going to be (again) for the next nine days. 9 […]

Watch this video I made back in 2008 about a very interesting event that takes place in the desert in Nevada. You can also listen to the commentary (with subtitles for the interviews) in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Irish and Esperanto. This is where I’m going to be (again) for the next nine days. 9 […]

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Getting by a few weeks into learning a language: my Turkish haircut (& ear burning) experience

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About six weeks into learning Dutch I was ready to go on 25 speed dates entirely in the language. It’s not quite the same thing for me now five weeks into my Turkish mission! Due to some annoying health problems and some frustrating travel related issues I’ll mention soon enough (that have nothing to do […]

About six weeks into learning Dutch I was ready to go on 25 speed dates entirely in the language. It’s not quite the same thing for me now five weeks into my Turkish mission! Due to some annoying health problems and some frustrating travel related issues I’ll mention soon enough (that have nothing to do […]

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29 life lessons learned in travelling the world for 8 years straight

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  EDIT: This blog post was written on my 8 year travel anniversary in 2011. In 2013 I celebrated my TEN year travel anniversary with a much more visual representation of the top ten lessons learned in travelling the world, including the absolute best footage from my travels, and you can hear me speak out […]

  EDIT: This blog post was written on my 8 year travel anniversary in 2011. In 2013 I celebrated my TEN year travel anniversary with a much more visual representation of the top ten lessons learned in travelling the world, including the absolute best footage from my travels, and you can hear me speak out […]

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[video] Interviews with two au-pairs in Spanish along Amsterdam canals: Learn a language abroad for free!

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Today I want to share two great video interviews in Spanish (subtitled) with you about an excellent means of learning a language for young ladies: working as an au pair. While living in Amsterdam, I actually met quite a lot of au-pairs when I wasn’t hanging out with the Dutch. It turns out that city […]

Today I want to share two great video interviews in Spanish (subtitled) with you about an excellent means of learning a language for young ladies: working as an au pair. While living in Amsterdam, I actually met quite a lot of au-pairs when I wasn’t hanging out with the Dutch. It turns out that city […]

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Cultural observations after living in Amsterdam

My experience in Amsterdam has been amazing, educational, frustrating, active, disappointing, eye-opening, cultural, beautiful and real. When I arrived with the mission to learn Dutch, my priority was always to get to know the Dutch people. Doing so through their own language, and focusing on spending time with them despite the vast numbers of other […]

My experience in Amsterdam has been amazing, educational, frustrating, active, disappointing, eye-opening, cultural, beautiful and real. When I arrived with the mission to learn Dutch, my priority was always to get to know the Dutch people. Doing so through their own language, and focusing on spending time with them despite the vast numbers of other […]

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