My name is Cassie and over recent years my husband and I have ventured overseas to explore. Neither of us had the opportunity or money to travel when we were younger and now that our children have flown the nest we have focused on exploring and seeing more of this beautiful planet on which we live. We have thoroughly enjoyed trialling new foods and experiencing lifestyles in other countries.
We are presently working hard to save the dollars for our three month trip to Europe next year. Several months ago while perusing the travel magazine in the Saturday paper I noted that a reader suggested learning to speak a language using SKYPE and the website italki. As we live in a little village on the north coast of New South Wales, Australia, I thought this may be a valuable experience as there is no-one here with whom I could converse with in Italian or Spanish.
I took the plunge and signed up for ten lessons with a young woman who lives in Verona. I have completed five lessons and am amazed at how much I have already learnt. Not only does my teacher converse with me in Italian she also sends me worksheets and small sound clips via skype that I work on at my own pace. These efforts are then reviewed at the commencement of the next lesson. My teacher, Giulia is very patient and positive and realizes I’m not very computer savvy and so directs me (sometimes numerous times) to downloads and other computer orientated resources; so not only am I learning a language I’m also becoming more confident with my computer skills. I also use Duolingo a free website that reinforces a lot of the vocabulary I use in my lessons.
I know I have a long way to go but I feel sure I will be able to order coffee, meals and participate in basic conversations by the time we fly to Italy next year. I know this will enhance my experience in Italy as we intend to explore off the beaten tourist tracks.
If you too have the travel bug and want to see some of the amazing places on our planet I would encourage you to have a trial lesson with one of the teachers and sign up for a package of lessons using the technology that many of us have never fully explored. My only word of warning is beware when you sign up that you check the timezone is set correctly on your profile page. I had to abort my first trial lesson as I ‘stuffed up’!
When we travel next year we are looking forward to stopping over at Verona and meeting Giulia for an evening meal. Life is short so we need to grab these opportunities and extend our knowledge while the sun shines on us!
Best of luck for your travels and learning of language.
Cassie has been a member of italki since August 2015