Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bonjour mes amis - Rosetta Stone

My bucket list has always included one thing. Well, it's included a FEW things all based on ONE THING.... LIVING IN FRANCE. I was 18 years old the first time I went to Paris (it was probably the first time I'd been anywhere without my parents) and I came to love the city and the people. I still visit her as often as I can (unfortunately it was not in the cards this year), all with the hope that I'll one day live there. I haven't settled on a single place I'd like to spend the rest of my years - one minute I think it's the Marais and the next I'll want a quieter life in Amboise, but ONE thing is certain - it will be in France.

So, it will SHOCK you that I am not fluent in French. Which brings me to #2 on my bucket list. Learning French. Yes, I took French in high school and college - only to realize once I arrived that I really did not speak the language, but rather an Americanized version (without the true tone of the French language). Luckily, my brother is fluent. He can discuss world politics or the latest French novels, make small talk with a mother waiting for her child to arrive at the train station, etc. For the past few years we've been traveling companions, making it so that my only need was a "bonjour Madame" or a "bonne journée."

I knew that I couldn't live there without knowing the language and with each passing year I worry that it would become more difficult. I'd researched various methods and since I don't live near an Alliance Française (and I didn't want to take French from an American teacher as the accent is SO important), I looked into Rosetta Stone.

Over the years I've heard some WONDERFUL things about how easy it is to learn languages with Rosetta Stone, so I contacted them....hoping that they'd let me TRY it out (and in return I told them that I'd let my readers know if it really WAS easy or just a waste of money).

Let me cut right to the chase, because I'm still amazed at what Rosetta Stone is doing for me. IT WORKS! I am using the TOTALe program. It is a full language immersion combining visuals, auditory and speaking (with word and ACCENT recognition). Between the repetition (not at ALL boring) and the fact that you can learn TOTALLY at your own pace (I'm a bit on the slow side...but that's okay), this is a program that will really have you speaking a few phrases your first day. It is nothing short of amazing.

I'm HORRIBLE at remembering. Sitting me down and having me memorize words, phrases, sentences, etc. doesn't work. I'd get up to get a glass of wine (hey, I've got to set a French mood here) and if it were ANY OTHER PROGRAM I'd have forgotten 1/2 of what I'd learned by the time I got back to my lesson. The genius of the Rosetta Stone program is that you learn the language NATURALLY and in a FUN manner.

It's funny, but when I told some friends that I was using the Rosetta Stone TOTALe to learn French, people started coming out of the woodwork to tell me their experiences with Rosetta Stone as well. My cousins girlfriend is using it along with her college courses and she's ACING her classes. She said that she's learned SO MUCH MORE from her Rosetta Stone lessons than she did the past two semesters at school, and because she's going into the medical field in South Florida - she NEEDS to be able to speak Spanish.

Here's what I LOVE about the program...

  1. I'm learning to speak the language like a native.
  2. The voice recognition system is amazing. It makes me strive for the correct accent and pronunciation.
  3. The lessons are interesting and varied. You start by jumping right in making phrases.
  4. Because the lessons vary, I don't get bored. Plus, each lesson builds on the lessons before and before you know it you're speaking French (or Spanish, or Russian, or....).
  5. I'm a visual person, so I love matching up the sound of the word, with the written and the picture of what it is. That helps me remember so much better.
I know what you're thinking though....it's expensive. YES, it is très cher, BUT if you add together all of the money that you'd spend on private language classes or even taking a course at college - you'll probably spend MORE money. I figured that a college course in French would cost approximately $500, and I would need to take French 1, 2 +3 to equal the lessons in the TOTALe program at under $1,000.

Plus the TOTALe allows me to

  • Participate in guided online sessions with live Coaches.
  • Practice your skills with other learners in our online community.

The TOTALe program is Rosetta Stone's MOST COMPREHENSIVE program. It's like having a private tutor. I also love being able to PRACTICE my skills by conversing with other learners online. Oh and I forgot to mention the GAMES. What a GREAT way to reinforce your learning, by PLAYING GAMES using your newly learned vocabulary (since the only language you're allowed to use is the one that you're leaning).

I know that a lot of my readers travel often and would LOVE to learn a variety of languages. If you're not sure if Rosetta Stone is the way to go...test drive a lesson and see for yourself. If learning a language is on your bucket list OR if it's an essential part of getting ahead at work, I suggest you try one of the Rosetta Stone products.

Plus - for the holidays they're offering up to $125 off and Free Shipping.

I must say, that it's SO MUCH FUN being able to do something that I'd always dreamed of. So, I guess that I'll be able to cross this off of my "list" and next year I'll be once again sitting at Les Philosophes on Rue Vieille du Temple. I'll be the one chatting with the people at the next table and enjoying a Tart Tatin de Tomate. Of course you KNOW that I'll be blogging from Paris (I wouldn't go anywhere without YOU).

Thank you to Rosetta Stone for providing me with the TOTALe software in French for this review (and for letting me check one more thing off of my LIFE list). I was not paid for this review and all opinions are strictly my own.


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