Portrait: Andrea from Bologna – Sports and Spanish

35 year old Andrea shares his story of practicing language and sports in Babbel’s User Portraits series.

We are launching a series of portraits of Babbel users – a snapshot of their lives, and the reasons why they are learning a new language. If you want to share your story with us, please leave us a comment. Today we introduce you to Andrea from Bologna. The 35-year-old is passionate about sports and languages. He has learned Spanish for the job of his dreams…in three weeks! And here he is, telling us how it was.

For 12 years I have been working in a sports shop. Sports are my greatest passion: I’ve been practising all kinds for many years, especially swimming, martial arts and weight training at the gym, where I have also worked as a personal trainer. When my company invited me to an interview for an office in Spain, Tenerife, I knew right away I really wanted this job!


The interview had been scheduled for about a month later and I was supposed to show that I can lead a sales talk and interact with customers. I learned French at school and I started learning English two years ago, but Spanish was completely foreign to me. That said, I didn’t want to look like I couldn’t speak any Spanish at all, so I said to myself: “All right. I’m going to try to learn for at least three weeks and see what comes out of it”. I therefore decided to try Babbel, and I have to say that I saw results immediately. During my stay in Spain I spoke nothing but Spanish, in the restaurant as well as at the hotel. I had to use English only once: at the police station, of all places, to report my bag having been stolen from the car. I hadn’t got round to doing the Babbel “reporting a theft” lesson!

I needed an interpreter for the interview, due to very specific jargon being used in the fields of sports and marketing, but other than that I had no problems. The interview went well and soon I will have a second one in which I will have to lead a sales conversation in Spanish. I will therefore have to interact with customers, and for that, my Spanish needs to improve. For that reason, I have decided to integrate language courses into my everyday life: I work during the day, then I do my training and dedicate the evening to Spanish or to learning English, because I’m going to need both once I’m in Tenerife.

I think it is important to set a goal if you want to succeed. I’ve noticed this kind of determination to reach a goal, especially in competitive athletes. Personally, the fact that I want to settle down in Tenerife plays a big role in my learning habits. I have a goal and I’ll do everything I can to achieve it.

The Babbel method helped me more than a traditional language course. I find it really helpful that the content is divided into different categories, which means that I don’t mix up the input or forget anything. This is very important, especially if you only have one month to learn a new language!

Another thing I like about learning with Babbel is vocabulary repetition. In the private English course I used to go to, I only got to repeat the subjects once and then had to move on to the next chapter. But what’s really helped me and what I think is a real novelty with Babbel’s courses, are pronunciation exercises. The teacher can improve my pronunciation maybe once or twice, but sooner or later he will get tired. A computer never loses patience! (Laughs)