How a Year of Language and Travel Made Me a Better Global Citizen

This isn’t the pretentious ‘global citizen’ that you hear in hostels from hipsters who think their own passport isn’t cool enough to warrant a straight answer when you ask where they’re from. I mean the actual philosophical, civic, and social idea of being a global citizen and…

16 Ways to Study a Language Abroad for Free

Language immersion is not only the best way to learn a new language, but also sort of the reason this blog exists. When I turned 21, I only spoke English, and one of the reasons was that I thought I’d just never have the time…

backpacking mexico

Backpacking Mexico, ¡with Mother!

In January I was in Monterrey, my first stop in Mexico as well as my first trial speaking Spanish in a group social setting. My Mexican friend Karen and I went to a small meetup with some Couchsurfers, a German and three Mexicans, who we met at a…

Trilingual in Three Years — Part 4: Three Years Later

It’s June 4th as I start writing this, so about 3 years and 1 month after I first opened a book called Teach Yourself Dutch and started my multilingual journey. Thus time for an update. Three years ago I was in Tallahassee, Florida, getting ready for…

Lengua Española: The Latin American Lingua Franca

An American, a Brit, a Frenchman, and a Mexican walk into a bar hostel: what language do they speak? In a recent past life, I would have said English without a thought or hesitation, even if there weren’t two native speakers in the mix. But in…

Gezellig Doen in Central Mexico

My second and third weeks in Mexico formed an uncomfortable, linguistically pubescent transition as a language learner and a traveler. In cultural terms, I’d finished my soft segue in comfy Americanized Monterrey with my overprotective adopted Mexican family, so culture shock wasn’t such a concern. In…

Bebé’s First Words

Crossing into Mexico was the first time I’ve really been nervous or scared while traveling, for a couple of reasons. The first and lesser is the obvious one: if you turn on the news in the US (and occasionally in Europe), you can’t avoid stories…

Trilingual in Three Years — Part Two: It Takes a Village

If you haven’t read it yet, check out the first post of this series on learning language like a baby. I spent almost 22 years of my life as a monolingual English speaker (even though I sat in a high school Spanish classroom for 4 of those…