Interview with David Mansaray: Living Abroad and Self-Directed Learning

David Mansaray

Over a year ago, in early January 2013, David Mansaray left everything behind and took off to Madrid, Spain. David grew up in London, and over the past several years he developed a passion for languages, self-development, and learning. One day, he decided he wanted to experience adventure, immerse himself in Spanish, and live a new life someplace else. That’s when he decided to move to the sunny capital of Spain. After a 9 months stint, he headed over to Barcelona.

David writes about his personal adventures on his blog,, and very recently he launched a website entitled “Language is Culture,” where you can find stories about real people who have succeeded in their attempts to learn a language.

Today, I’d like to share with you an interview I had the chance to conduct with David. Given his experience living overseas and learning foreign languages, as well as his frequent contact and interviews with polyglots from around the world, I had no doubt David would provide wonderful advice to language learners and aspiring travelers alike, and I wasn’t disappointed! I hope you’ll enjoy the interview, and don’t hesitate to ask David any questions you might have in mind in the comments section below.

Here are the questions I asked David throughout the interview; feel free to skip to any specific part (times indicated between parentheses).

  1. For those who don’t know you, could you tell us briefly about yourself? (0:57)
  2. Can you tell us a bit about your experience? Do you think others can do what you’ve done? Do you have any recommendation for those who’d like to follow in your footsteps and start a new life someplace else? (2:53)
  3. What was the reason that weighted the most in your decision to move to Spain? (5:00)
  4. What are some of the top lessons you have learned from living in a foreign land and learning a foreign language on your own? (6:44)
  5. How were you able to deal with the stress that moving to another country can incur, and what kept you going in the study of Spanish? (9:15)
  6. What is a common thread that, from your perspective, binds all of these people together? What are some of the lessons you’ve learned from them and that you think others should absolutely know about? (12:26)
  7. Any last words that you’d like to share with us? (14:39)

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