User Portraits of 2015: Where Are They Now?
It’s been a big year for Babbel, and equally so for some of our users. Throughout the year, we’ve shared with you a few of their stories, and now it’s time to check back in for an update on their language-learning journeys.
We spoke to Clara back in April, and heard about how she met and fell in love with Gabriel from Brazil, whom she later married. At the time, she was learning Portuguese with Babbel for a trip to Rio de Janeiro to meet Gabriel’s family – and particularly for his mother, who has been learning English to better communicate with Clara.
Fast forward to today, and Clara and Gabriel have returned home from their trip, having had a wonderful time. What’s more, the couple are now expecting a baby!
Last time we spoke to Andrea he was preparing for a second interview for a job in Spain. He applied to the job knowing that he had one significant disadvantage – he didn’t speak any Spanish. With just three weeks to learn, he downloaded Babbel and got to work.
Since we wrote about his story on the blog, Andrea passed his second interview and was offered the job. In the end, he declined the offer, but is still learning Spanish with the same enthusiasm. He practices regularly with Spanish colleagues and a new Argentinian friend whom he helps with Italian in return. Not content with just one new language, Andrea is also learning English and French with Babbel.
Eckart and Vincenzo’s love story began online and, at the time we caught up with them, had resulted in Vincenzo leaving his home in Sicily to join Eckart in Düsseldorf. At first they used English as a lingua franca, but with each learning the other’s language, they were quickly able to converse in Italian and German too.
Since our last blog post, the couple has returned to Sicily for a visit, allowing Eckart to practice his conversation skills in Italian. While he’s finding that speaking a new language takes a great deal of concentration, he’s making great progress and can now enjoy lengthy conversations with Vincenzo’s family. Vincenzo has also been making big improvements of his own and is continuing to perfect his German with lessons in Cologne.
Last time we spoke to Gianni, he was almost a hundred years old. Well, he’s since celebrated his 100th birthday and now has a full century under his belt.
So how is life at 100 for Gianni? In a word: busy. Still a prolific author, he has just completed his new book Discorrendo con Eros e con Thanatos, of which he wrote two chapters with his late wife. He’s also continuing to learn English with Babbel and enjoying the process. It’s evidently paying off too: he’s now able to converse with his great-granddaughter’s English nanny.
Is it difficult to learn a language at Gianni’s age? Not according to the man himself: he learns “senza nessuna fatica” – “without any effort.”
Lenel, who lives in Galway, is a keen blogger with a passion for travel and languages. He’s been ticking off items on his personal “bucket list” and blogging about his experiences. One of his challenges is to learn French, Spanish and Italian, which he’s still doing with Babbel.
Since we last heard from Lenel, he’s been busy achieving goals in the USA (specifically ones involving partying and fast food). His languages are coming along nicely, and he’s still enjoying the process, though he says he doesn’t always have a lot of time to practice nowadays. The one exception is Italian, which he manages to use frequently when translating for an Albanian colleague.
What’s next for Lenel? Another challenge, of course – chasing the Northern Lights in Tromso, Norway.
Andrea is the 24-year-old we spoke to in April about his work with children around the world. At the time, he was organizing educational activities in India, whilst learning Portuguese with the goal of working with orphanages in Brazil.
Since then, Andrea has realized his goal and found that Babbel was invaluable in helping him to communicate with the children and better understand their circumstances. Next, Andrea will travel across his native Italy, inspiring children with his own story of overcoming difficulty to find success.
Martin is the intrepid adventurer we spoke to in the middle of an epic trip across the Brazilian Amazon by motorbike. The 36-year-old photographer has been traveling ever since, and we caught up with him in Venezuela.
Martin has spent the past 16 months in Brazil dodging poisonous animals and navigating difficult terrain, but also getting to know the locals, thanks to his rapidly improving grasp of Portuguese. He’s now looking to build on his Spanish in Babbel, in order to create similarly lasting memories – and to ask for directions!
This summer, we told the story of James from Portsmouth, England and Anna-Louisa from Sweden. The two met while studying in Budapest and quickly began a relationship. Communication was never a problem, as Anna-Louisa was already fluent in English. As a gesture to her and her family though, James decided to tackle Swedish with Babbel.
Since we last caught up with the pair, they’ve settled in Milton Keynes. They’re currently adapting to working life, so there hasn’t been a lot of time for learning Swedish. That hasn’t stopped James making progress though: he’s finding new ways to integrate the language into his day-to-day routine – from making shopping lists to reading children’s books.