Hi, I'm Kelly and I am a freelance writer and a CELTA-qualified ESL teacher from the UK.
As a writer, I get to cover a range of topics by working for a variety of clients in a number of industries. My focus when writing for Listen and Learn is on language and travel, but away from that, I like to write a lot about animals and the environment. Travelling while writing gives me a fresh perspective for all the things I write and allows me to consider everything from opposing points of view thanks to the people I meet along the way.
Europe is an amazing place to travel. The countries vary so much, as do the languages, cuisines and ways of life. Though underneath all of that, travelling has really taught me that people are just people, and that we have more similarities than we do differences. We talk a lot at Listen and Learn about languages teaching us so much more than purely vocabulary and grammar, and it is true; there is nothing as exciting as getting to talk to someone you might not normally get to, just because you have made the effort to learn some of their language.
Teaching English has given me further insight into the importance of understanding other languages and cultures. I've taught lessons on beaches about the climate crisis and the impact of oil spills on marine animals, and helped students in train stations to practise booking train tickets and make travel plans. I've worked with laboratory technicians in large conglomerates and newly qualified architects starting their own companies; people with completely different lives to mine. And it has been a privilege getting to know them all! Though the most rewarding thing about teaching is seeing students achieve their goals. There is nothing as satisfying as seeing students proud of their hard work and going on to achieve amazing things as a result!
Adam Grant is an economics student from London, England. Giving up a life of numbers, he now spends his days jotting down his travels in Europe, South America, and Asia. Intrigued by different cultures, foreign food and crazy habits, Adam is winding, eating and writing his way through as many as he can find.
I moved from the UK to South America to save the rainforest but ended up saving myself from a boring career in banking instead. I have now worked online as a freelance writer for almost a decade, covering every subject from Bitcoin to golf and from backpacking to the smelliest kinds of cheese. Languages are my favourite subject, as they are fun to write about and I can pass on useful information too.
Despite knowing approximately 3 words in Spanish when I first boarded a plane here, I have managed to survive, although with the occasional cringe-worthy misunderstanding along the way. My first Spanish classes were in Ecuador, where I also discovered what really happens to water when it goes down a drain on the equatorial line. After that, I started travelling South America and picking up as much of the language as I could.
I am now married to a Bolivian and my daughter has Spanish as her first language but speaks English like a bonnie wee lassie from Braveheart. We travelled to Europe for a spell but we feel more at home here, with a laidback lifestyle and nice weather.
Much of my Spanish I learned on the hoof, working in a bank in Spain and desperately trying to explain credit card charges to immigrants whose Spanish was as limited as mine. I also tried running a shop in Bolivia, which threw me in at the deep end. Nowadays, I work on my PC while learning new words from musical geniuses like Los Auténticos Decadentes and Celtas Cortos.
My interesting career path really comes in useful at times as a freelance writer. I sometimes wonder if there is anyone else out there whose CV has UK mortgage underwriter and Bolivian pig farmer owner on it. If there is then I would love to hear from them.
There is nothing better for me than settling down to type something fun that might educate or entertain the people who read it.
Victoria B-C is a self-confessed grammar geek, and uses this site for therapy. She is based in London, where she witnesses crimes against grammar on a daily basis. Words are her thing as Victoria is currently a journalist, PR advisor, and Social Media guru - these are her true stories.
Though born in the USA, Katie moved abroad as a baby and spent an exciting childhood in Mexico. As a teenager, Katie made the decision to travel to Cuba (her first solo trip overseas) to do her pre-professional dance training at the National Ballet School. She later took this love of dance abroad and worked as a dancer and dance instructor in the US, the Philippines and Singapore.
Katie also obtained a dual BA from UT Austin, majoring in Chinese and Asian Cultures and Languages. She garnered extensive experience as a language student at UT and went on to study abroad in Taiwan for a year on a language scholarship. Later, she participated in a business language case competition at BYU in Provo, Utah.
Against all odds, Katie managed to locate another third-culture adult like herself and made sure to marry him, too. She now forms part of a traditional Hindu Indian family, which can be interesting, wild and weird at times! This along with Katie’s love of learning new languages has given her a unique worldview of life as a multi-cultural expat. One of her passions is to help others make these same sorts of transitions in their own lives—whether they’re moving to another city or country, going abroad on holiday for the first time, travelling for business or learning a new language.
Katie understands that travel, expat life and language learning can be intimidating at times and she strives to simplify these concepts through her writing. She lives by J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous quote: ‘Not all those who wander are lost’, so much so that she has a tattoo of it in Elvish (another language she’d like to learn)!
When not busy splitting her time between family in India, the US and Mexico, Katie lives in the UK where she dreams up new travel plans, works furiously on her writing, and hunts up unique activities to do in her spare time. She loves old pubs, train travel, coffee and the work of Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson.
An explorer at heart, Heather has been working abroad as a teacher for the last 4 years in Jakarta, Donetsk, Budapest, London and currently Seoul, South Korea. She studied German and English, and loves writing, watching films, learning new languages and cooking.
Chris has been living in London for most of his adult life, but has travelled the globe extensively and has visited every continent but Antarctica. He is currently attempting to learn Russian, very, very slowly.
Born in the sunny suburbs of the San Francisco Bay, Katie Florian is a freelance writer whose obsession with culture is rivaled only by her love of languages and their intricate subtleties. With an English degree from a university near Washington, D.C., she now lives in the majestic city of Cape Town, South Africa, where she works for a nonprofit organization and terrifies her mother with her lust for extreme sports.
Mishka Grobler is a Film, Media and English graduate of the University of Cape Town, born and raised in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She is currently recovering from being an English teacher in the neon-hued city of Seoul, Korea, by writing her way through the South American continent. Passionate about all things foreign, from film to food to quirky cultural habits, her real love is language and all its nooks and crannies.
Having studied both law and worked in the field of social housing, Sarah is passionate about human rights issues and is currently a teacher, reader, writer, and lover of fluffy cats in her second home: Thailand.
After 30 years of living on the doorstep of the UK's Peak District, Kev, his wife and their 3 cats moved to France in 2009 and have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into learning the language and customs. Along the way, he builds websites and writes.
Nicole Eberhard has a Masters degree in English Literature which has left her with a book-buying problem. She has since abandoned the world of academia, moved to South America, and is pursuing her great love: travel writing.
My name is Tamara and I am a writer and editor for an online reference database. If I could have one superpower, it would be the ability to understand every language in the world. I was born in South Africa and grew up in the Cape Town area, but have also lived in the United Kingdom and the United States as an adult. I’m an avid traveller and have been lucky enough to explore a variety of cultural environments, including China, Thailand, Egypt, and Israel. While studying Mandarin at university and attending a summer school session in Beijing in 2010, I discovered just how hard it is to truly master a new language: studying it in a classroom was is one thing; conversing with fluent speakers is quite another, and. I gained a new appreciation for anyone who could speak multiple languages. At the age of 25, I got itchy feet to live somewhere new. I set off to Scotland in 2012 to complete my master’s degree in English literature and spent an exhilarating year exploring whiskey and castles. I returned to Cape Town in late 2013 but couldn’t keep still for long. In 2015, I moved to Denver, Colorado, where I now live and work. I currently write and edit for an online reference database that covers ancient and modern world history, geography, pop culture, and contemporary issues. Moving from southern Africa to the UK and U.S. has also been a fascinating exercise in the differences between same-language cultures that even share a language. Denver and the Rockies are home now but I can’t keep away from my home country; I journey back at least once a year. As a language learner, I’ve delved into Mandarin and French, and continue to explore French in my spare time, although I suspect it will be a long time before I’m proficient. Next up: Spanish!
Dusty is a full-time freelance writer and worldwide traveler who prefers not to sit still for very long. She's on a lifelong mission to perfect her Spanish and blend in with the locals as she travels through Latin America and beyond.
Remi Yamazaki is a trilingual journalist and performer, currently learning her fourth language. She grew up in Japan, came to the US for college and has spent summers in Paris and Kampala, though she usually sounds like she's from somewhere in the former and/or current Commonwealth.
Beckie is a self-proclaimed lover of words. As an award-winning fiction author who has been freelance writing for several years, she enjoys the outdoors and fishes competitively every summer. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to learn anything new.
Jadon is a freelance writer with an interest in language and music. Currently a student based in Bloemfontein, South Africa, his interest in travel drives a deeper passion to learn about new cultures and, ultimately, share weird and wonderful stories from these amazing places.
Brian Thomas Armstrong is a literary traveler of life, love, and the pursuit of blissfully beautiful and exotic surroundings. He is 53 years young, and is currently retired after being a Commercial Construction Contractor for 20+ years. After a devastating heart attack in 2010 in which he had to be brought back to life three times, Brian decided to devote the remainder of his years to his passion for writing.
Matthew has traveled to various exotic locations such Mozambique, Mauritius and Haiti, and he has worked in some of the safer areas of Afghanistan, where he learned that language isn't always the most obvious barrier to communication
Lauren Harrison is a full time writer and part time free spirit living in the UK. While her love of travel and language has seen her board some of the longest flights known to mankind, she is at her most content soaking up the history, the sights and of course the sounds of Europe.
Britt Baker is a dedicated freelance writer from the United States, who enjoys writing about various travel topics as much as she likes exploring. She has written content for worldwide brands, from Reebok, to global organizations, including UNICEF, to small businesses all over the world.
Mirka works as a freelance journalist and translator, loves books and globetrotting. If she doesn't move every three years to another part of the world, she becomes bored. The current part of the world is called Argentina and her newest discovery is called 'Mate'.
Jessica Dillow currently lives in Madrid and is a freelance copywriter and author of Be Your Finest Self. She is a vegan yogi who loves to run and read when she’s not in the middle of travelling. Right now she’s only fluent in English, but she loves the process of learning Spanish and French.
Gabrielle van Welie is a giant nerd from the Dominican Republic currently based in Madrid. She's the editor of http://thenerdleague.com and runs a writing blog over at http://literallywrite.com. If you need to spot her in a crowd, she's the one with the deadpan expression.
Christian Adams is a writer and musician based in Taipei, Taiwan, and Metro Manila, Philippines. Born in Chicago, he earned a degree in creative writing at San Francisco State University. With 20+ years of writing and performing under his belt, Christian's first book of non-fiction, The Lazy Bastard Guide to Mandarin, was published in 2012 by IPMG, New York. Excepts of the book can be read on his website: https://blacksunshinemedia.com
Hi, I am Onerio Neto, international analyst, language enthusiastic and hardcore traveller.
As a youth, I spent most of my days in a boring city in the centre of Brazil (it is called Goiânia and nobody knows it abroad). I studied law, but have always been in love with history and languages. One day, when I turned 23-years-old, I decided to change the course of my life and I joined a Danish NGO and started doing development work, discovering the world, little by little.
During all this time around the world, I´ve had several adventures such as: got stunned seeing Hadrian’s Wall near Newcastle, UK; had a role in a theatre play in Denmark; got malaria in Africa and spiritual in India; hitchhiked across Laos and Vietnam; and played guitar in a show in China.
Great adventures, but after almost four years without visiting my family, I went back home and finished my studies, earning my bachelor’s degree in international relations. However, the desire to be “on the road again” returned, and I moved to a neighbouring country, Argentina.
After travelling so far and wide, I have now settled down in Argentina, where I enjoy my life with my girlfriend, our cat and my video game collection.
Have I stopped travelling? NO! But now, I have a partner with whom I can experience my future outstanding travel moments. We have gone to many places together, always trying our best to communicate with the locals in their own language, or at least learn the basics of the native tongue of where we visit. There is no better way to connect with people abroad and get to know their culture.
Do my words and history inspire you? Well, you can enjoy similar experiences! Just grab your backpack and start to travel and learn languages!
John McMahon is a writer, motorcycle tour operator, and sometimes antiques exporter who lives on the banks of the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. His writing both fiction and non-fiction has appeared online and in print all over the world.
Rosie is a freelance journalist, editor and English teacher who has lived in South America since 2009. She is currently residing in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she enjoys learning the intricacies of the local slang.
Dylan Reid Miller is a comedian, writer, and insomniac living in Brooklyn, New York. You can usually find her at the nearest Starbucks feeding her caffeine addiction or at home playing video games. Follow her on Twitter @missdylanreid for funny jokes and political outrage, and often both at the same time.
Raised in New York but based in Argentina, Nicole has a BA in journalism and a true passion for writing, investigating and interviewing interesting people. She feels blessed to have been raised speaking English and Spanish, which has given her a rich perspective on both Argentine and American culture. She currently writes for Listen & Learn travel and language blogs.
Gaetan was born in Martinique, a tiny paradisiacal island lost in the Caribbean. Having the incredible chance to speak 3 languages as a native (French, English, and Kréol) naturally motivated him to go travel the world (Australia, China, Colombia, Argentina) and expend his language skills. His dream is to speak 8 languages fluently by the year 2020. He’s got 5 in so far, the clock is ticking fast, and he knows it!
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Veronica lives in Manhattan where she appreciates the cultural diversity. She first fell in love with the power of language when she majored in English at Princeton University. A speaker of French and English, Veronica has travelled the world and studied abroad in the Netherlands. She believes life is a continuing education and enjoys probing how language influences thought, and how learning language expands your mind and breaks down cultural barriers.