North American Polyglot Symposium 2016 Review

I just came back from participating in the inaugural North American Polyglot Symposium, and in this post I'm sharing my experience, feelings and thoughts about the event.

NA-polyglot-symposium-2016-review

NA-polyglot-symposium-2016-reviewWhen I decided to pursue languages as a hobby and career back in 2014 I simultaneously made the decision to attend as many language events around the globe as possible.

Of course it's not ALWAYS possible, due to finances, time constraints or other commitments but on the whole if there's an event -I'll do my best to make it.

So far I've taken part in 3 Polyglot Gatherings, 1 Polyglot Conference, 1 Polyglot Workshop and now one Polyglot Symposium.

Note: I'm not a huge fan of the polyglot terminology used, but it is what it is.

I've yet to have a bad time at any of these events.

Every time I feel like I come out of it smarter, more energised to work on my languages and with new friends and contacts.

It's an incredible high to spend so much time with people who just ‘get you.'

I'll get back to the conference at the end of this post, but for now let me just share what else I was up to in North America before the conference.

Coming to Montreal a Little Early

Because my flat lease in Budapest expired at the end of June, and the fact that flights to Canada from Hungary seemed to increase dramatically in price by July, I decided to just pack up all my belongings and go live in Montreal.

Of course I'd still be working as normal, so it wasn't a month long holiday but it was a very interesting experience. After a month in the city I concluded that Montreal is a great multicultural city with lots to offer.

It's clean, the people are very nice and there are lots of things to do and see in the city.

Travelling with all my stuff was a bit annoying, but the alternative of paying an extra month of rent seemed a little bit more annoying.

I also tried Poutine, which was surprisingly tasty. I didn't expect it to be bad, but the flavours actually do work together.

The lovely poutine. French fries with gravy and cheese. This one had pulled pork too.
The lovely poutine. French fries with gravy and cheese. This one had pulled pork too.

Although it does feel a bit too fat and decadent to have regularly, it was fun to try.

The weather was a bit against me, in the sense that we had about 35 degrees most days with a very high humidity.

As someone who doesn't really own a pair of proper shorts this was borderline unbearable.

I don't think I'd live permanently in Montreal, but I'd definitely enjoy coming back to visit and maybe even learn French.

Roadtrip Around New England

One of the highlights of my trip, apart from the conference itself, was when I rented a car and drove all the way down to Boston to meet up with a friend.

It was an extremely awesome roadtrip with stops at Concord, Walden Pond, Salem, Portland, Denmark and Mt. Washington.

During the trip I was amazed by the beautiful nature of New England and also very impressed with the lobster roll I had in Maine, yummy!

This $14 lobster roll was the best lobster I ever had. The place had a 9.5 Foursquare rating which is the highest I have ever seen.
This $14 lobster roll was the best lobster I ever had. The place had a 9.5 Foursquare rating which is the highest I have ever seen.

I'm definitely going to be going on more roadtrips in the future as I really love the exploring part of it, you can take a detour off the beaten track and just explore small cities, and observe the beautiful nature and surroundings.

Anyway, you didn't open this post to read about my touristy activities. You wanted to hear about the NAPolyglot Conference, right?

The North American Polyglot Symposium (NAPS)

After the New York Polyglot Conference a lot of interest of hosting a permanent yearly event in North America had been buzzing around, which was exciting for me.

You see, for me the conferences are extra incentives to travel and see different parts of the world.

And North America is just somewhere I don't go regularly without a reason, it's a bit too far!

Anyway, I didn't think the NA conference would come to fruition because we hadn't had any information until a few months from now and I was sure organising a conference of this magnitude would take months and months of planning.

Early in the process I was asked if I was interested in coming to present, and it didn't take me too long to say yes.

I had been walking around with the presentation about depression for a while, but hadn't quite found the conference or opportunity to present it yet.

NAPS was a great opportunity. There'd be lots of my friends to support and it would be a bit of a scoop for the people who had decided to support the conference and me with their presence.

Massive kudos to the main organisers Joey and Tetsu for managing to pull it off, it was a great weekend.

Day 0 – Pre-Conference Lunch and Dinner

Since we had no plans on the Friday, I decided to explore old Montreal with a friend. It wasn't long until we randomly walked into a few familiar faces, who were being guided around a walking tour by volunteer and local Elena.

I ran into Simon from Omniglot and Lindsay from LindsayDoesLanguages along with a few new faces who I had not yet met. We had lunch in a great little restaurant before meeting up with Joey to start another walking tour.

Unfortunately my friend had some business to do and I DESPERATELY needed a haircut. It had grown out of control.

So we said our goodbyes and took off on our different ways to meet up with the others later.

In the evening all the conference speakers and volunteers were invited to a dinner at a Greek restaurant where we had some great food.

We started with a lentil soup, followed by perfectly tender shish kebab with crispy potatoes before ultimately enjoying a piece of cake and a cup of coffee.

It was my first chance to meet one of the legends of the community, and one of my first inspirations for pursuing languages: Mr. Steve Kaufmann.

It didn't take me long to confirm what a nice guy he is.

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