IX09 – how it all started…

Our big love here at bab.la and Lexiophiles is languages. Throw in some adventure and new experiences together with a new language and we are almost squealing with excitement!

Most of us here at bab.la are interns from abroad, having come to Germany to learn the language, experience a new culture and meet new people. As a result, we love to hear about other people doing the same thing somewhere else!

So, to celebrate and recognize all the other adventurous students and young people around the world we decided to make a list of the best international exchange & experience blogs on the web. Our final list of winning blogs can be found here. These blogs have come from high school students completing a year abroad, university students on a semester exchange programme, and a few hard-working interns like us working hard to get some experience on their resume. The common bond is that all of them are living, learning, exploring and experiencing a foreign country and blogging about it! For all the young people out there who might have thought about doing in international exchange, we hope that some of the stories from the bloggers here might inspire them to take the leap and do it!

But, let’s get one thing straight early on… we are not scientists. As such, this competition has not been run on any real scientific principles. We wanted the competition to be as user-driven as possible, and almost the entire thing has come from our Lexiophiles readers.

The nomination process began with us posting an article on Lexiophiles asking for nominations for our competition. You can read this article here. Many of our users posted comments with their suggestions for blogs, and lots more simply emailed me directly (I guess they were shy!). The team from bab.la also helped with nominations, and everyone contributed some blogs that they follow in their own language. The entire nomination period lasted two weeks.

From there, I put the pile of nominations into a nice tidy list and posted them back up on Lexiophiles. I made sure to contact all the bloggers who were nominated (either by email or posting a comment on their blog) to make sure everyone had the same start and told them all to go get all their friends, grandma’s, neighbours and blog-readers to vote for them. From here on, it was out of my hands and the fate of the blogs rested in the mouse-clicks of our readers. We made a button for people to put on their blog that linked them directly to the Lexiophiles voting page to make things nice and easy. And because we couldn’t sit around all day counting the thousands of votes that came in , we set up the voting to be counted automatically by the clever people at Poll Daddy. This voting period lasted two weeks, and then we took a couple of days to write up all the results before posting them back on Lexiophiles and bab.la. We had a record number of votes for this competition – over 11,000! We think this is really impressive and want to say a HUGE thankyou to all of you who took the time to vote.

On behalf of the top 3 bloggers, we have made donations to Unicef. The winners will receive updates from the community where their donation was directed, and will also get a button for their blog to show their readers that their writing has made a difference in the lives of others.

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