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How Learning a Second Language Brought My Family Closer Together

By Margaret Manning June 08, 2013 Lifestyle

I was raised in Canada and grew up reading English and French on my cereal box. Unfortunately, I never learned French in school, so, I missed the opportunity to become truly bilingual during my childhood.

For most of my childhood, I didn’t think of speaking only one language as being a deficiency. But, as I started to travel, I became increasingly aware of the beauty and diversity of the other languages around me.

Being busy with work and family commitments, I contented myself with learning only a few phrases in the languages of each country that I visited. But, I never took the time to dig deeper. Then, in the blink of an eye, my life changed. My son moved to Russia.

I remember the day that my son told me he was moving to Russia like it was yesterday. Apart from the usual concerns about visas and personal safety, I wondered what it would be like trying to communicate with my son’s friends as he became more integrated into the local culture. I decided that I needed to take control. I needed to learn Russian.

Determined to maintain a close relationship with my son and his friends, I asked my colleagues which software programs they had used to learn a second language. They gave me some wonderful ideas, but, one name that came up again and again was Rosetta Stone. “What do I have to lose?,” I thought. And, I ordered a copy the very same day.

From the moment that I started using Rosetta Stone, I was hooked. It honestly felt more like a game than a language course. Rosetta Stone is somewhat unique as learning programs go because it uses context and images to teach you rather than dry memorization. After 6 months with the program, I had a chance to test my newfound skills on a trip to Moscow. While I wasn’t fluent by any stretch of the imagination, I was happy to find that I could order a cup of coffee, give directions to my taxi driver, and more-or-less navigate the city’s famous metro.

Learning Russian was a life changing experience for me. Not only did it give me a new appreciation for the beauty and complexity of other cultures, but, it also brought me closer to my son and his wonderful Russian wife.

If you are interested in learning a language, I highly recommend that you give them a shot. Their online course offers a free trial, so, you really have nothing to lose.

Have you tried Rosetta Stone or another learning program? Please share your thoughts below.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at margaret@sixtyandme.com

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