Hope that helps You can't get a List[String] from a List[Any]. (Well, you can, but it's a really bad thing to do.) Don't, don't, don't create a List[Any]. Unlike Python, Scala is a strictly typed language, which means that the compiler keeps a close watch on the type of each variable and every collection. When the compiler looses track of the List type it becomes List[Any] and you've lost all the assistance the compiler offers to help write programs that don't crash.