Back in 2012, Melbourne native Ben McMahon entered a weeklong coma following a horrific car crash. After waking up from the coma that his family was unsure he would ever come out of, McMahon’s English-speaking abilities took time to recover, but he was able to comprehend an entirely different language. When he woke up to a nurse who appeared to be Chinese, he immediately began speaking fluent Mandarin, a skill he never possessed before his coma.

Doctors believe the English circuits in McMahon’s brain were damaged as a result of the car accident, while his “Mandarin circuits” instead became engaged. Although his parents were grateful when their son finally woke up, they were understandably confused that he could not speak a word of English but was able to read, write, and speak perfect Mandarin. McMahon admitted that he had spent time in Shanghai prior to the accident and had also taken Mandarin classes in high school. However, he was nowhere near able to speak the language fluently.

McMahon decided to harness his newfound speaking ability by starting Mandarin classes at Melbourne University. Since then, he has been able to make use of his new ability to speak fluent Mandarin by entering a Chinese international language competition, heading up Mandarin walking tours, and even hosting a Chinese television show at one point. McMahon currently resides in Shanghai, where Chinese natives are impressed by how well this man from Australia can speak Mandarin.