We’re doing a series of portraits of Babbel users – a snapshot of their lives, and their reasons for learning a language. If you would like to share your story with us, please leave a comment below. This month we spoke with Aldo, a 70-year old man from Italy full of energy and motivation. Canoeing in the morning, chess in the afternoon, and now a new goal: learning English.
I’m originally from Gorizia, but I live in Trieste, where my wife and I moved for my job. After 35 years of work, I’m now retired, but definitely not bored. My day starts at six when I go canoeing to stay fit. Around a year ago I started playing chess. I’m not that good yet, but I like joining matches in the afternoons.
I have two children, Federica, who lives and works in Trieste, and Luca, who lives and works in London. It’s also because of him that I decided to learn English – I want to be able to communicate when I visit him in the UK.
To be honest, I mostly do it for myself. It’s somehow more difficult to learn new things at my age – the brain isn’t as flexible. And that’s exactly why I feel happy when I realize I’m really learning new words and starting to construct sentences. I can see myself improving and that gives me a lot of satisfaction.
But don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect to become bilingual! I’m happy if I manage to say something, if I can describe what a typical day in my life looks like [switches to English]: My name is Aldo, I was born in 1944 in Gorizia, near Trieste. I wake up at six and I go canoeing …
Of course all days are not the same. I have my ups and downs, but if I don’t practice English for one day I’m not happy with myself. I don’t feel like it’s an obligation, either… I only do it when and if I feel like it. Luckily there’s no time card for me to punch! (laughs)
A while ago I realized something: If I do my English exercises in the morning and finish some Babbel lessons, when I go to my chess matches in the afternoon I feel like I play better. It feels like my mind has been ignited and that it’s better prepared to handle new challenges and tasks.
I think Babbel courses are well made. There’s a great variety of topics and exercises – vocabulary, grammar exercises, dialogs for traveling, and words and phrases. You can find pretty much anything. The only thing I miss is having someone to talk to, a language partner on my skill level to practice with.
Other than that I can say I’m very happy and my day is full of activities. And this makes someone else happier, too: my wife! After forty years of marriage she’s quite happy to not have me at home all day!
Did you like Aldo’s story? Do you want to tell us yours? Leave a comment below and let us know why you’ve decided to learn a new language!