“Great Things Were Never Achieved by Playing it Safe” –Benny Lewis
This week I have the great pleasure to share with all of you an interview that I did with Benny the Irish Polyglot, hailing from his extremely popular language learning website, Fluent in 3 Months. Today I will share the first half of the interview (second half coming this Saturday).
Benny Lewis probably does not need any introduction, but for those of you who might not know him, Benny has been traveling the world for the past 10+ years—from Spain, Taiwan and Egypt to the hinterlands of Brazil—and it all started with the decision to start learning foreign languages and interact with the locals. Indeed, back in 2003 when Benny was 21 years old, the only language he knew was English, but that soon all changed a few months after he moved to Spain!
Benny has learned/studied well over 12 languages during the past decade and traveled to most continents on the planet (check out his video: Top 10 lessons learned in travelling the world 10 years). Nicknamed the “Irish Polyglot,” he sees language learning as a means to an end: that of communicating with interesting people from vastly different backgrounds and learning from them. As you can probably deduct from his website’s name, Benny tries to gain fluency in a language by studying it intensively for 3 months, after which he travels and enjoys using the language as much as possible.
He has written a fantastic book for language learners, which I encourage all of you to check out.
In Part 1 of today’s interview, I asked Benny the following two questions:
- You’ve been on the road for the past 10 years and traveled to dozens of countries. Could you describe in a bit more detail how languages and travels have changed your life? (1:55)
- How many languages are you planning to learn in the future? Will you ever stop, or will you continue three months (or longer) missions for the foreseeable future? (4:58)
In addition to responding to my questions, Benny really talks in depth about the lessons he has learned from learning so many languages and traveling to so many places, in addition to his personal plans for the future, why he will not keep learning new languages forever, the truth about being “homeless” (on the road) for so long, and finally the reasons why he chooses to learn a language prior to going to the country that speaks it.
As usual, I welcome your comments and feedback, and if you have any question for Benny make sure to leave a comment and hopefully he will be kind enough to find the time to respond to them.