Sometimes I receive really special emails from Fluent in 3 Months readers, and not long ago an incredible story landed in my inbox from long-term reader Mandie:
Mandie had emailed to let me know that thanks to Fi3M, she’d found the love of her life! This is Mandie and Neil on their wedding day:
Congratulations, Mandie and Neil!
Mandie also sent this picture of herself and Neil after they’d just met in person for the first time:
Here’s the full email I received from Mandie about her wedding and how she met Neil:
Hi Benny and Team,
I don't know who reads the emails for this account but I just wanted to say thanks to Benny and the Team and share my story of using FI3M with you guys.
So, first off, thanks for changing my life and helping me find a good husband…internationally! I originally told you guys about this after I had just met my boyfriend and someone reached out and asked if they could use my comment on your website. Little did I know, 4 years later, this would turn into a much bigger change than I ever expected!
March 2014: I haphazardly came across the Fluent in Three Months website and at first site thought: “Seriously? Who can get fluent that fast?” But…my interest was piqued.
I'm from Houston, Texas and live in Phoenix, Arizona. My (unbeknownst-to-me-at-the-time-future-husband) was living in Barranquilla, Colombia (the same hometown as Shakira and Sofia Vergara!).
I somehow gathered up the courage to make my first YouTube video of myself with the tiniest bit of Spanish I could remember and introduce myself as Benny told us to do. Then I started practicing talking everyday, recording myself, and followed Benny's advice to go to italki.com and practice with native speakers.
I was terrified. How dumb would I sound to a native Spanish speaker?? I did it, anyway, at the urging of Benny and the Team. Immediately, I started talking with friendly and interesting people from all over the world through Skype. I met some of the most fascinating people in Argentina, Venezuela, El Salvador, China, Ireland, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Peru, Spain, Chile, and my favorite, Colombia!
I was suddenly introduced to fascinating new cultures (I had never traveled outside of the United States). I was being shown normal, everyday lives of people just like me, but trying to learn English. I never thought they sounded stupid or dumb for making mistakes in English. I helped them and they helped me. The best part was…instead of memorizing boring words, I was hearing new music, talking about ideas and subjects that really interested me! I was learning about foods, beliefs, religions, and cultures that I never could have experienced the same way from a textbook. I was learning slang in other cultures and working on my best form of pronunciation. All of this started because I started at the FI3M website, and took a chance to believe in myself. This skyrocketed my confidence to boot!
Suddenly, in September 2014, I received a message from a young, gentleman asking to practice Spanish with me in exchange for practicing English. I had a few regular language-practice partners already and my schedule was pretty busy, so I didn't answer. November 2014 I finally replied back to him. This must be some fated meeting in the stars…but neither of us had any idea.
We slowly began talking a few times a week. This turned into everyday. Before we knew it, we were anticipating talking to each other throughout the day and he confessed his attraction. He told me one day he was going to marry me. I thought he was crazy. I laughed it off.
June 2015: I was on a plane to meet my boyfriend for the first time. Filled with butterflies, we met in person in Panama City, Panama (he was stationed there for work – even though he's from Colombia). We spent a week of pure bliss together and had a hard time saying goodbye.
August 2015: I was on another plane to see my boyfriend again. This time, I was supposed to spend a week and come back. On the day I was set to return, I missed my flight. The next day I called my job and let them know I wasn't able to come back…I stayed with him for 3 months. We began talking about a future together. I wrote a journal about my adventures living and working in a third-world country. My eyes were opened to a new world! I became completely fluent in Spanish and got a door-to-door sales job selling carpentry services to native speakers IN SPANISH!
September 2016: My fiance stepped his first steps on U.S. soil to begin a new life. To be honest, it was a little overwhelming at first, but since he has really become accustomed to a new life.
October 2016: We got married!
March 2018: We're starting a business together.
All I can say is: Thanks Benny and Team at Fluent In 3 Months. I have people listen to my Spanish and compliment me on my accent. I still make small mistakes sometimes but people say I sound native! I'm thinking about learning a new language.
I tell EVERYONE about FI3M and italki!
Con mucho cariño,
Mandie and Neil Alean
What a story! Here’s wishing you both many years of happiness.
One of the main Fi3M resources Mandie used to help her become fluent in Spanish was Conversation Countdown. You can find out more and read about Mandie’s experience using Conversation Countdown here.
And this is actually the second Fi3M-related wedding that we’ve heard about! The first was James’s wedding, which you can read about here.
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.