When my fiancée and I decided on a trip to Italy for our honeymoon, I saw the perfect opportunity to surprise her. Why not try my hand at learning Italian? The price of the full Rosetta Stone program was intimidating, but they offered a six-month guarantee. I figured if I really learned a foreign language, the program was a value.
Less than six months later, having completed Levels 1–5 of Rosetta Stone Italian without my fiancée having an inkling, I headed to Italy confident in my abilities, but with tempered expectations. Surely, once I got there, I thought, I would find there was so much I hadn’t learned. Although I scored well on the course, my studying had only been with a limited vocabulary. The computer said my accent was right on target, but how accurately can a computer measure that anyway?
When we arrived in Venice and boarded the boat to ride to our hotel, I saw my first opportunity to use my new language. In fluent Italian, I was able to greet the driver and let him know where we’d be staying. The look of confusion on my wife’s face was priceless. But perhaps I was even more surprised than she was; the driver understood me completely, and I was able to understand his reply and continue the dialogue. My wife later told me she was ready to admonish me, assuming I was mocking the driver by speaking some sort of Italian-accented gibberish. She couldn’t believe her ears when he started answering me.
We continued touring the country, while I took every opportunity to practice and enhance my appreciation for the language and culture. My shining moment came toward the end of our trip, while in the beautiful town of Siena. We had gone to a restaurant for drinks, and when the waiter came over I gave him our order in Italian. I then turned to my wife and said something in English, to which the waiter commented (in his broken English), “Your English is fantastic. Where did you learn to speak so well?” I could not have been prouder. Not only had I learned fluent Italian in just a few months, but my accent was sharp enough to fool even a native speaker of Italian.
Thanks, Rosetta Stone!