In High School, I took French. I’m not sure why, but I think it had something to do with me thinking French was fancier than Spanish. I very much regret not taking Spanish now. I’ve been to France, once, while on a cruise, and was only in Nice for a day. I’ve been to Montreal about three times, but I could have gotten by without any French. I’ve been to Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina. I studied abroad in the latter two. Living in Northern Virginia, I run into Spanish speakers constantly, and French speakers rarely, if ever. Spanish would have been much more practical. Even so, I was not very interested in learning a language in High School. I did not learn very much, and retained even less.
Before the global residency in my MBA program, I borrowed Rosetta Stone from a friend (and therefore, had limited functionality while using the program). I found it very helpful. With a few months of practice, I was conversational in Spanish. By conversational, I mean I could direct a taxi, order a steak and beer, ask basic directions, find a bathroom, and conduct monetary transactions. My greatest Spanish achievement was obtaining a Chilean National soccer jersey for my friend as a souvenir. I asked around while I was in Chile, and finally was directed to a shopping mall a few metro stops away. I rode the metro, found the mall by asking directions, and finally sporting goods store. I did not see the jersey I wanted, but by being able to say, “red”, and, “shirt” in addition to, “Chile”, they brought one out from the back. Despite tons of other really great memories, my common shopping errand holds a special place. It would not have been possible without Rosetta Stone.
Fast forward to earlier this winter. Some friends and I decided on Montreal for New Years Eve. They have an awesome celebration, and Montreal is a great destination in and of itself. Amazing museums, great restaurants, and a Casa Del Habanos are a few of the highlights. I don’t believe there is a better option than Rosetta Stone for learning a language. However, I did not want to spend more on Rosetta Stone French, than on the trip itself. I friend told me about Duolingo. Duolingo is set up almost exactly like Rosetta Stone. The kicker is that its free. If you’re looking to learn a little of a language before a trip, definitely check it out. Using it for about a month before Montreal, I was able to pick up numbers, common greetings, and how to ask where the bathroom is. Just the bare necessities, but they proved to be useful. I have a new trip scheduled to a Spanish speaking country, and I’m going through Duolingo Spanish from the beginning. I also intend to repeat the relevant parts of Rosetta Stone (shopping, travel, etc.).
This was not a comparison, but for those that may have found this post via google, I’ll say this: For traveling for pleasure, for less than a month, I’d recommend Duolingo. Its great, and its free. For traveling for business, or for over a month, get Rosetta Stone. Its comprehensive, but you’ll have to pay a fair price.
Not matter what you decide to do, do it with style:This entry was posted in Cigars, Style, Travel by rsiv with no comments yet