The Babbel Blog

language learning in the digital age

Portrait: Aldo from Trieste

Posted on November 26, 2014 by

Portrait: Aldo from Trieste

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!



In answer to Kate — I want to learn Polish, or at least enough to communicate w/my husband’s Polish relatives. But I’m learning Spanish first, because it’s so prevalent in the US and because knowing it might help me find a new job! I thought learning two languages at once would be too difficult and confusing. Has anyone here ever done that?

Kate, keep us posted on your progress in Polish.


Is anyone else learning Polish?

I am 77yrs old but only just.Born
1937 just before Christmas.
I hadn’t been on the Planet 10
minutes before all hell breaks loose,ie WW2.(not my fault!).I have been able to use a computor for about 6yrs but it is
now as antiquated as me.We both need an upgrade!I have a few words in Eurospeak but don’t know which one to opt for.The French are neighbours ,and maybe are a few swearwords in that language would be usefull.

I am crazy about learnig languages,ii speak Dutch and learnes 3 others at school,Afterwards i learned Turkisch for 3 years and went to Turky three times,it was so fantastic to be able to speak with the peoplr No i am learning Spanisch because i have many friendw of Columba.

Oh! I totally I agree with every comment made by everyone here.Learning a new language open doors,not only opportunity wise,but allows one to interact with people who normally one never imagined.I’m a Portuguese speaking person and improved my English language when I arrived in South Africa and it pleases me when I communicate with people from England,USA, Canada and other English speaking country.Spanish is my next language.The most important thing in a language is to read and speak as much and as many people you meet and books you see.So far,so good,no matter how young or old,any language opens borders.

I am Iranian and i did continue my after 30 years of BC in mechanical engineering when i was 57 years old. Then i applied for Phd. I accepted in interview in Turkish university by the name Bogazizi in Instanbul, but for enrollment it was needed to have IELTS. By now i am ready for pre IElTS and trying to get 7 score of academic Ielts to enroll. I am now 63 years old and i hop to finish may study in phd degree at 68 years.

My name is Jamal I was born in Kuwait in 1974. I would like to learn the English language to read the books of a writer named
Wilbur Smith. I’ve read about 20 books of Smith but in Italian language. The problem is that in my country which is Kuwait there isn’t anything in Italian language. So I’m having problems trying to find any book of this writer in Italian language. For this reason I need to learn the English language to continually reading his books. Best wishes.
Jamal Abdallah

I already are managing 5 languages, but my passion is French. I’ve traveled widely and visited all the countries over the world – inspired me to get my degree in Linguistics. I would love to meet somebody like Aldo, as I also am in my 70’s. Only to correspond with, as I’m from South Africa, and in love with Italy. Regards

My mother is italian 65 and is learning German with Babbel. She wants to move to Germany.
She likes Babbel very much!

I also decided to learn another language beside the 4 I know so
I took turkish from babbel and
soon will take hebrew I am a 70
yr mom

Language is a mean of communication , the most significant feather that demarcates humankind with other animals . To me It means every thing . I love languages . The best way to get rid of routine life . In fact , it’s the best way to kill several birds with just one stone . When learning a new language one improves the abilities and capacities of the brain . Learns a new mode of communicating based on : literature , culture ,history …etc .I’ve spent most of my lifetime leaning and teaching different languages . I began to study language when I became a POW ( prisoner of war ) and I was just fifteen years old . I have a lot of(unbelievable facts ) to say ,but maybe later! My last word , a new language is a door to a new world and life . I wish a happy life for all of the good humanbeings on the planet earth . Cordially yours .MOHSEN

I completely agree with previous comment .Nowadays it is not enough to know native language and English. It is essential to know at least one more European language.

I’m 73 and moving to Costa Rica on Christmas Eve. I’m trying to learn Spanish with a local beginners class and Babbel. So far so fun!

I am learning Italian. My dad lives in Italy and I am visiting him every year now since his wife passed away last Christmas eve. He is 82.
Last year I was visiting I met a lot of his friends, but could not communicate well. I was getting tired of missing all the fun! I am Dutch, live in the USA.
Love the lessons, learning every day. My memory has also improved! Love it! Ciao!

My uncle, Wilhelm Diederick Weber started learning Zulu at 75. Very active brain all his life. Used to sing in multiple languages. Learning a new language keeps the brain alive!

Leave a Reply