Who am I?

The story behind me and FSI Language Courses

Who am I?

My name is Darren. I am a 36-year-old Englishman, a former digital nomad (I hate that title), and an avid language learner. 

I have lived in several countries, opting for "slow travel" over backpacking. I want to connect with the culture and language, not other backpackers.

FSI Darren Kenny image collection

My language mission

I am a language learning enthusiast. I have embarked on a long-term language learning mission. I want to speak:

  1. Portuguese (Fluent)
  2. Spanish (Proficient)
  3. French (to-do)
  4. Italian (to-do)
  5. German (Basic)
  6. Russian (to-do)

Countries I have lived in 

  • Brazil (Belo Horizonte) - 2 years
  • Germany (Leipzig) - 3 months
  • Mexico (Mexico City) - 1 month
  • Colombia (Medellin) - 1 year
  • Thailand (Chiang Mai) - 6 months

Why did I learn a foreign language?

I used to live in London (one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world) jumping between companies as a freelance web developer.

I would often meet foreigners at work, people from say, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Poland etc... you get the idea, all over the world working in this great city, London.

They all had one thing in common....they could speak English fluently as a second language.

This fascinated me.

It also shamed me. As a native English speaker, we often hold a degree of arrogance about never needing any other language than English.

I had never considered learning a foreign language before but every time I met a new foreigner in London, my desire to try and learn a foreign language grew.

At the age of 28, I decided that I would finally try and learn a foreign language. But not in class...I have never been one to do things by halves, I figured to really learn a foreign language it would have to be all or nothing. I needed immersion!

One rainy night in October I decided I would go for it. I bought a 3-month return trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil. I gave myself a 3-month deadline to see if I could hack it and get enough online work to support myself...it was a scary time, with the financial and cultural uncertainty. 18 months later I left Brazil as a fluent Brazilian Portuguese speaker. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

Update after 4 years:

I now reside back in the UK, with my beautiful Romanian other-half, Ruxandra, and our cute baby girl, Harriet.

With this site, I aim to inspire other language-learners.