A Malta-based podcast has surpassed 500,000 downloads with listeners from all over the world buying into the fun and innovative format of learning English through descriptive storytelling.
English Learning for Curious Minds is the brainchild of Alastair Budge, the founder and CEO of Leonardo English, who relocated with his family to Malta in 2017.
The podcast (which is available on all streaming platforms) aims to help intermediate and advanced language learners improve their English through the telling of fun and engaging short stories that contribute to one’s learning process.
“It all started with the idea to create a more interesting way for people to improve their English,” Alastair told Lovin Malta. “I wanted to do something completely different and the idea was to create these weird and wonderful stores, from corporate scandals in America to the story of Guy Fawkes,” he said.
English Learning for Curious Minds began in September 2019, months before the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe. With English Language Schools soon shutting down, many turned to digital platforms to continue their language learning journey, stumbling upon the Malta-based podcast.
“The start of the podcast coincided with the pandemic, with people turning to new and different ways to learn English. It’s tailored more towards intermediate and advanced learners who don’t want to jump on a plane and go study for two or three months,” Alastair continued.
Since its inception, English Learning for Curious Minds has experienced its fair share of success, with over 500,000 downloads from listeners across 189 different countries. On Spotify alone, the podcast’s following has grown 25 times over since the pandemic started.
It even has several paid options, where subscribers are treated to an additional episode per week along with transcripts, subtitles, key vocabulary, a private forum and more.
In fact, it could very well be Malta’s most popular podcast.
“The podcast is just one part of it,” Alastair continued. “What I’m trying to do is create a place for people to learn English in a more interesting way, to create a community,” he said.
Leonardo English also emphasises “community accountability” with its monthly challenges, the last of which had participants from 13 countries write or record an answer to a different task every day over the span of 30 days.
Others have shared their stories with Alastair and his site, including a Spanish-Italian grandmother who took up improving English during the pandemic.
With Alastair producing two podcasts a week, Leonardo English has now become his full-time occupation, with the entrepreneur dedicating late nights to recording… so that he won’t be interrupted by nearby construction.
“Many people in Malta have a building site next to them. I now record the podcasts in the evening after my son’s gone to bed and after the drills have stopped,” he said.
A total of 158 episodes have been produced so far from Alastair’s home in Malta, with many more to come as Leonardo English continues to find its way to the ears of eager English language learners across the world.
Share with someone who needs to listen to this podcast!