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Dear Abroad Readers,

You, I believe, are language learners. You’re at the very least language curious. You try and wrap your mouths around the tones in Mandarin and fearlessly stake your dignity on the precarious pronunciation of a phrase of Japanese slang. You tackle Arabic, Portuguese, Swahili, Spanish. You have, as I’ve realized reading our fierce and committed comment threads, deeply entrenched and passionate opinions about language learning.

I want to hear your stories about struggling with new languages, stumbling forward and finding your identity, your voice, your comfort zone and finally, ultimately, your fluency in another tongue. You don’t even have to be “fluent” in an academic sense, speaking clearly and smoothly with few errors; you can simply have learned how to navigate another language and how to understand and make yourself understood.

I want the stories of how you went from gaping uncertainty to those intuitive leaps of understanding, those breakthrough conversations (even if it was just, finally!, ordering a beer correctly) and what tricks, strategies, or unconscious tactics you used to get there.

Please try to keep submissions under 1,500 words, and avoid Beginner’s Insert Language Here study tips. I want to hear personal, individual stories about the journey you took to learn a language. Think of it as a linguistic travel narrative, charting your itinerary and your explorations into the foreign conjugations and word orders.

If you’re interested in submitting, check out Matador’s contributor guidelines and submit your article via the online form.

About The Author

Sarah Menkedick

Matador Contributing Editor Sarah Menkedick has traveled, lived, and taught on five continents, and is constantly in pursuit of spicy food, dark beer, and new places to run. She is an MFA student at the University of Pittsburgh.

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  • Turner

    Done and done – I had to learn Japanese to eat!

  • Emily

    Hi Sarah, when is the deadline?

  • Sarah

    Hi Emily,

    There is no deadline, this is just a rolling call for submissions. But if you’d like to write about a popular language (Spanish, for example) send your piece in soon, because we’re getting lots of submissions for popular languages.



  • maryanne

    Cool. Has Turkish been taken yet?

  • Patrice

    Hi Sarah,

    Is it too late to submit a piece on learning Spanish


    • Heather Carreiro

      Submissions are still open!

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  • JEanlOu

    Is it still open? (swedish, not so popular :))

    • Heather Carreiro

      Yes, our submission calls are on a rolling basis. You can send queries and articles to heather[at] – and I don’t think anyone has written about learning Swedish yet!

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  • Alex

    I’ve learned Spanish since elementary school. However I learned the most in 6th grade and 7th. Those years I was taught by native speakers.

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