TUESDAY TRAVEL TIP: Travel inspiration is important, but we all know the logistical side of a voyage comes to the forefront when it actually comes time to get out of town. Every Tuesday we bring you informative tips to help in the sometimes daunting process of getting from here to there. You can thank us by having a freakin’ blast on your trip.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his year at the stroke of midnight, countless people all over the world will make a promise to themselves to make the coming year different and better than 2011. While many of these promises (ours included) will be geared toward fighting back stomach fat that has started hanging over the waistline, do yourself a favor and add another resolution to your list that will enrich your travels in 2012 — and for the rest of your life.
When you emerge from the fog of your champagne hangover on Jan. 1, promise yourself that you will learn a new language this year. There’s really no reason not to, considering how convenient some computer programs have made language acquisition. Rosetta Stone is probably the most widely recognized of these programs, offering over 30 languages and a support community where you can converse with native speakers online. But there are several other avenues for learning a new language that should not be passed up in favor of the popular option.
Living Language is a newer program than Rosetta Stone that offers additional methods for picking up a foreign tongue. The method is fun and effective, but it’s the amenities that come with the Living Language suite that make it top notch. Along with a comprehensive computer program, buyers get course books, audio CDs, and access to personal tutors and an online community. But that’s not even the best part: every language tool kit comes with iPod and iPad apps that bring flashcards, audio conversations, and interactive games to your knowledge-thirsty fingertips. This way you can pick up your desired language during the morning commute — or while working on your other resolution at the gym.
If you’re more of a hands-on learner, check with a nearby college to see if they offer language courses as part of their continuing education program. Many major cities even have language centers specifically designed to tutor individuals who have long since passed the sweet spot for language acquisition.
And while you’ll probably give up on your beach body fantasy around the second week in February, there’s a trick for keeping up with this resolution: book an end-of-2012 vacation to a country that predominantly uses your language of choice. Set the trip far enough away that you’ll see real results before embarking, then immerse yourself in the language with locals who will teach you what a computer program can’t. Studying French? Pick up the Québéquois accent in Montreal. Learning German? We hear that Munich is lovely in late September.
We know that resolutions can be hard to keep, but we’re confident that you can and will keep this one, if only for the fact that you don’t want the money you put down for computer programs, classes, and a foreign vacation to go to waste!
Photo 2 courtesy of Nathan Wong via Flickr (CC BY 3.0)