The Babbel Blog

User Portraits

Learning the Ropes: A Dutch Rock Climber’s Language Journeys

Posted on March 22, 2019 by

Sascha Prinssen’s deepening romance with climbing has become her livelihood, in The Netherlands. And of late, it’s taken her across borders and cultures, to climb natural terrain abroad. As she’s learning Italian with Babbel, we caught up with her in Greece, to talk about how learning local languages serves her climbing adventures, and how climbing experience helps her overcome language-learning challenges.

You work in the industry that’s sprung up around climbing, and the fact that it’s an industry at all indicates a ton of people are getting into it. But not everyone is doing it in the outdoors, on natural terrain — much less traveling to other countries for weeks at a time, to climb. What makes that so compelling for you?


I think that has to do with how I got into climbing in the first place. As someone born and raised in the Netherlands – with parents who were more into sun and beach holidays – growing up I had never been into mountain sports. But when I kind of randomly ended up joining friends on a hiking trip in the Pirin mountains in Bulgaria, about ten years ago, I was struck by the majestic beauty of the terrain. So when I got back home, I started doing the thing which to me seemed most related to mountains, but was still accessible to me in the flattest country on earth: rock climbing, in a gym.

Even at the outset, I always saw it as a training or preparation for climbing in the mountains. I quickly became a real climbing enthusiast and got in touch with some other ‘hardcore’ climbers in my city. I started going on trips with them to climb outside, on actual rocks. That kind of deepened my sense that climbing outdoors is the “authentic” form. I’ve always enjoyed being outside in nature, so for me it’s also just a nice way to get out of the city and have fun outdoors with friends.

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Spanish for Surfers: A Babbel User’s Journey in South America

Posted on February 1, 2019 by

Christian Reiher (34) lives in Berlin and is a mathematician – and a passionate surfer. Since he started with the sport as a teen in England, he’s been hooked. Christian can often be found at his Berlin surf club, Surfer’s Connection Berlin, or at surf spots around the world. Recently he was in Central and South America for several months. Before the trip, he got a tip from another surfer from Surfer’s Connection to try out Babbel. And so, using the app before and during his trip, he learned Spanish!

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Meet Chris Wray: A man who learnt a language to serve his country

Posted on June 22, 2018 by

 

 

 

 

 

Megan, a member of Babbel’s PR team, speaks to fellow Brit and Babbel user Chris Wray about his experience learning German.

 

Meet Chris Wray. Chris lives in rural Dorset in the UK, and is enjoying retirement with his family after a career in the British Armed Forces. Between June 1968 and December 1983, he was deployed to Germany three times for a total of 10 years as part of military operations. For almost six of those years, Chris didn’t speak German outside of the classroom. When he finally did, he realised that there was more to a country than just being there.

 

 

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Meet Dave Bottomley: A father who learnt a language for his son

Posted on May 9, 2018 by

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Megan, originally from the UK and working in Babbel’s PR team, chats with fellow Brit and Babbel user, Dave Bottomley.  Dave is 66, lives in Chepstow, and is a former taxi-business owner. In October 2017, Dave gave a “father-of-the-groom” speech before a sea of Spanish wedding guests. Only 24 months before, Dave could not speak a word of Spanish. Read on to discover his story.

 

 

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Meet Alex Sapple: A man who learnt a language for love

Posted on April 25, 2018 by

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Meet Alex Sapple: A man who learnt a language for love. Alex is 29 years-old, lives in Chester, works as a software developer, and coaches at Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club in his spare time. In 2016, Alex boarded a flight to Brazil. Little was he to know, that the love of his life was to sit beside him. Just one problem – Alex couldn’t speak her language.

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