How to be Bilingual – Episode 26 of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

I’m sure I’m not the only traveller who has sometimes wished they could transplant a microchip into their brain and suddenly be able to fluently speak another language. Instead, I’ve spent most of my life slogging away at learning German, as well as having a go at Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Slovak too.

This episode’s guests all have different perspectives on how they (and you) have become bilingual by travelling and living in other countries. It’s fascinating to hear about the differences between learning a language as a child and as an adult, and heartening to hear of people who’ve learnt a new language as an adult but been able to become fluent in it just the same. It’s still a lot of hard work, I think, but it’s a very satisfying skill to acquire!

Show notes: Episode 26 of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

How to be Bilingual

Encountering foreign languages when we travel is both a challenge and a joy – and some of us dream not only of learning a few phrases when we travel but becoming bilingual.

It’s definitely not easy to be bilingual but the guests in this episode of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast show that it’s not impossible, either. I start off chatting with Leyla of Women on the Road, one of those amazing people who can speak a multitude of languages, and treats coming across a new language as meeting a new friend.

If you’re considering raising your kids bilingually, then my next guest, Adam Beck of Bilingual Monkeys, is the man to listen to. He’s got a wealth of information about it and shares a few ways he’s helped his children grow up speaking, reading and writing English nearly as well as their more-native Japanese.

Finally, Martin Bailey shares his journey to bilingualism which didn’t begin until adulthood when he moved to Japan to work in a lace-making factory.


How to be bilingual - Episode 26 of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast


  1. One of my favourite episodes so far!!!!!! And yes, I’m totally biased as language / linguistics is my background but I really enjoyed Adam discuss active bilingualism and the challenges of bringing up your children bilingually.

    And Martin, oh my goodness!!!!! There are some rare cases reported in the literature around bilingualism and language acquisition but to acquire a language like he has at that age, it’s nothing short of amazing.

    There’s a seminal article on “what good language learners do” and go over to see what applies to these incredible language learners.

    • Thanks Kati – yes fair enough that you’re biased but yes, Martin is amazing isn’t he? Having spent a couple of years learning Japanese in Japan myself, I was so incredibly impressed with how fast he mastered it. (And he was such a lovely guy to chat to, too.)

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.