Another goal for my sabbatical was to pick up a second language. Over my life I have learned the rudiments of German through Audio CD’s, basic Portuguese through similar methods before I went to Brazil, and a few words in Mandarin when I spent a couple weeks in Shanghai for work. But for this goal, I went back to my first second language, Spanish, and the method I chose was Duolingo.
I believe that a people’s language is a great view into their culture. I think with prolonged study, you can understand some cultural nuances without visiting the home country. And once you do make it there, your experience will be enhanced from the effort. I only wish that I had fully embraced this view earlier in my life.
Thankfully, I have also learned patience. And the daily repetition of Duolingo for 20 to 30 minutes pays off. The format of the lessons and the progressive nature work for me, and I am using the free version of Duolingo. The one area I am missing is practicing Spanish in conversations. My own timidity is the primary barrier as I know that opportunities abound if I would simply look.
I have a goal to be conversational by the time I can responsibly travel abroad, and I want a Spanish speaking country to be close to the top of the list. Hopefully, I will be fluent in 2021, so I can move on to language three in the following years.