My career is an important part of my life, but I have to admit that I'm jealous of my friends who have already retired. Mainly because they're always sharing pictures of their most recent international trip, eating world-class food and seeing ancient art and architecture. I've always wanted to see more of the world and explore different cultures, so this year I decided to take a few weeks off and go on a big summer trip with my wife.
We chose Buenos Aires, because that's where we had our honeymoon thirty years ago. Back then, my wife still remembered her Spanish from school, and was able to help us get around. But this time around we both decided to prepare for the trip using Rosetta Stone's language learning program that you can use on your phone or computer. That way we would both be able to ask for directions and order at restaurants, which was important for me because I didn't want my wife to feel burdened by taking care of both of us.
I remembered Rosetta Stone from years ago as a language learning program on CDs, and I was worried it was going to take up too much time. But when my wife told me they have an app, I thought I'd give it a try. We decided to do the lessons together in the morning over breakfast and coffee, instead of reading the paper like usual. I was surprised that the lessons only take about 15-30 minutes, so we were never tempted to skip days, no matter how busy we were. The lessons focused on conversational phrases, so it felt like I was learning things I would actually say on our trip, and they even have a feature to help us with our accents. That was one of my favorite parts of the app, because in the past when I had visited foreign countries, I was so embarrassed by my American accent that I never really tried to speak the language.
We used Rosetta Stone for about 6 weeks before our trip, and I was surprised at how much progress we made in such a short amount of time. My wife learned more than me, because she studied Spanish in school so she used to know a lot of the phrases and had more of a foundation to build on. I had never spoken Spanish in my life (well, not more than "hola!") and I couldn't believe how many phrases stuck in my head, even at my age. I think it's because Rosetta Stone's lessons were actually engaging and interactive, without making me feel like I was taking a test.
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When summer rolled around and we finally went to Buenos Aires, I was able to ask for directions to San Telmo and get a table at one of the many steakhouses without a problem. More than that, I was really confident while speaking, and felt like I could have little conversations with the locals. Plus, there is a phrasebook feature with handy phrases and words for travelling, which is basically like having a little travel dictionary at your fingertips at all times without having to carry around an awkward book. There's also an audio companion feature that gave us the opportunity to keep up with our lessons without any WiFi needed. All you need to do is download the lessons beforehand, and just like that, you can take the education with you on the go (which was perfect for the 13-hour flight to Buenos Aires).
Rosetta Stone made it easy for us to make the most of our trip and feel comfortable while travelling, like we really belonged. It was the best $7 dollars per month I've ever spent! Since the trip, we've kept up our morning Spanish sessions and are even thinking about heading to Cancun for a beach trip with the rest of our family in the spring. My kids are going to be so surprised when I order tamales like a champ!
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