If you were following my blog back at the beginning of the year you’ll be aware of the fact I worked as a surf instructor at Montanita Spanish School in Ecuador.

A job that came with free private Spanish lessons.

I made it my task at the beginning of the year to learn a new language (well Espanol to be exact!), I set myself some goals and I was pretty stoked with the prospect of being able to communicate a little better during my time in South America.

However if you continued to follow my travels you’ll also know that I failed pretty epically at learning Spanish! In fact the word Spanglish still doesn’t accurately describe the dire amounts of language I managed to pick up.

Basically I learnt what I’ve termed “surf instructor Spanish” – to put it bluntly I can order drinks, talk about waves and flirt!

And that pretty much sums up my language skills!


A New Kick

When I decided to come to Switzerland I decided that maybe it was time to give learning another shot – I was afterall coming to the home country of the girl and I’m well off the backpacker trail, meaning there’s a distinct lack of native English speakers around.

Luckily I preempted this struggle and the awesome guys over at Rosetta Stone have thrown me a rope to help me out – in the form of a 6 month language course!

Hopefully this motivation will kick start me into the learning game again, but this time I have some other important goals and reasons behind wanting to learn;

Firstly my girlfriend is Swiss, she speaks perfect English. Although this is awesome I feel a bit shit not being able to speak her language!

And due to her being Swiss she speaks German with all her buddies, which basically leaves me in my little bubble during conversations!

…even more so with her family. They all speak pretty good English, but it would be heaps nice to be able to chat to them in German too.

Plus I need to prove to my mother that I’m not a complete bum and I’m actually still capable of learning and seeing a task through!



I’ve set myself some goals for this one too, hopefully help me along the way!

– Firstly I shall be taking advantage of the fact I’m in the country, surrounded by native speakers, so by the time I leave here in just over a month I want to be at least at basic conversation level.

And to test this I’m thinking I may well do a solo road trip somewhere at some point and task myself with doing everything in German! Ambitious but hey you’ve got to aim big!

I’m also coming back for xmas – over 2 months away – so it would be great to be reasonably good by that point (to be honest I’m not sure what is realistically good on that time scale!) but being able to join in a Swiss xmas with people that don’t speak much English would be perfect.

– Long term wise, well by the end of the 6 months I’d love to be fluent, able to Skype chat and text without much issue.

Oh, and I also want to do an entire blog post in German for the site – translated too of course!


Wish Me Luck

That’s my long term challenge for the moment – fingers crossed it goes heaps better than last time!

There is an added incentive too – Rosetta Stone have hooked me up with the TotalE package, which comes with an awesome iPad/iPhone app for learning on the go, perfect for backpackers and travelers!

Not only does this give me the excuse to play with my phone all the time, but it also means I literally have no excuses not to spend any free time on a plane/train/bus learning.

Over the next few month the idea is to give you a quick monthly update – keeping track of my progress but also to give you a solid review of the whole Rosetta Stone package, I’ve heard alot of good things about them and from what I’ve seen so far the app is pretty sweet so my expectations are pretty high!

Here goes nothing….!


**DISCLAIMER – I have received a free 6 month free language course from Rosetta Stone, but all opinions are honest and my own**

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6 Responses

  1. Carole

    I’m sorry to tell you that Swiss-German andd German are not the same language…. I’m from Switzerland (french part) studied 10 years of German and still speak English when I’m in Zurich because it’s easier to get people to understand me…. It’s annoying but the true even native German speaker have trouble :)

    • Chris

      hey Carole,
      Yeah I noticed HEAPS of differences when around Swiss speakers and just german speakers! Keeping it simply for myself though and sticking to plain german!

  2. Sonja

    I can totally relate to your motivations – being Austrian myself, I used to have an English boyfriend, and even though everyone around us spoke English, him not being able to understand German banter and rambling conversations was always an issue!

    Viel Glück beim Deutsch lernen! Du kannst stolz sein – es ist wirklich keine einfache Sprache. Mein Tipp: deutsche Filme ansehen, deutsche Bücher lesen, deutschsprachige Musik hören. Dabei lernt man ganz nebenbei. :)

    …and hey: don’t google translate this! You can do it! ;))

    • Chris

      hahaha I feel for him – it’s hard learning another language this late in life!
      But…surprisingly…I actually managed to translate your German comment – not precisely but I could pick out enough to get what you were saying – now all I need to do is get my hands on some german books, music and movies! ;)

      • Sonja

        Hehe very well done!! I’m sure your lady can recommend lots. :)

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