When Benny Lewis graduated college he spoke only one language: English. He said he had no aptitude for other languages. No talent for learning them. In a 2015 interview with the Irish Post, he described himself as “mediocre in languages at school,” earning a C in German and barely scraping by on his Irish language exams. He moved to Spain after graduation, certain that if he immersed himself in Spanish culture, he’d have to pick up at least a little Spanish. Six months later, he’d learned virtually nothing.
Today, Benny speaks seven languages fluently. He speaks another four well enough to have confident conversations.
What changed? Benny learned to “language hack.”
A blogger and self-described “technomad language hacker,” Benny is the author of five books on language education. His most notable work, Fluent in 3 Months, has been the subject of two TEDx talks, and in 2013, National Geographic named him their “Traveler of the Year.” Now he’s coming to Augusta to share what he’s learned with students during International Education Week.
Lewis will hold a public talk, titled “Language Hacking – Your Journey to Foreign Language Fluency,” on Thursday, Nov. 2 from 7-8 p.m. in the JSAC Ballroom.
LD Newman, director of the International and Postdoctoral Services Office and vice president of International Initiatives, said having Benny on campus is an amazing opportunity for students to view travel through the eyes of a lifetime language learner.
“Hearing Benny speak will be a unique opportunity for our students,” Newman said. “Benny has traveled and lived all over the world. He has great stories about his adventures and excellent tips on how to engage with people from other cultures and become a citizen of the world.”
This event is free and open to the public. Contact Tiffany Takahashi for more information.