For someone who spent years studying languages—I’m talking middle school all the way through college—I have next to no skills. Don’t get me wrong: I’m great when it comes to colors and farm animals. But after that, it’s chaos. No matter how many flashcards I made or conjugations I memorized, I never came close to being able to speak another language conversationally. The old-school methods just plain didn’t work.
But with a European trip in my future, I got motivated. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do more than order a cup of café (or caffe or kaffee) as I toured the continent? It was definitely time to hit the books. Or better yet, the apps. After a little research, I landed on the app Mondly—mostly because it promised to have me speaking in (other) tongues faster than other systems. A bonus? Mondly is in the middle of a fantastic sale on lifetime passes. The pass allows you to choose five languages from Mondly’s vast library, which includes Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese—basically everything you can imagine from A (Arabic) to Z (okay, V—Vietnamese).
Here's the rundown
I decided to try my hand at German, since Berlin is one of the destinations on my itinerary that I’m most excited about. I opened the app—so much more fun than opening my 8th grade textbook—and set it to "beginner," since I absolutely *do not* spreche Deutsch.
Right away there were options—a variety of ways to get started, which I loved. This app gets me! You could go with quickie five-minute lessons, or dive into a specific topic. Since I subscribe to the “start where you are” concept of learning, I chose the category “transportation”—I mean I want to be able to talk to folks as soon as I de-plane at Brandenburg Airport and learn all the best places to hit.
I was thrilled to discover that Mondly was actually fun. It felt more like play than study. The app makes a game of learning by displaying and audibly reading words while showing images. After I saw and heard a word in a few different scenarios, it kind of locked in for me—the word sort of effortlessly stuck in my memory.
I ventured into other subject categories: shopping, food, even “romance.” Mondly wants to make sure you’re ready for anything. The app even assesses your pronunciation, to make sure you won’t accidentally hurl an insult when all you’re asking is which way is the museum.
Is it worth it?
At $69.99 for a lifetime membership, Mondly is a truly great deal. Compared with the monthly fees charged by other top-rated language-learning apps, it’s a veritable steal at a whopping 94% off! And, with complete access to the curricula for five languages, you have it tucked away and waiting anytime you get inspired—or find yourself with an unexpected opportunity to travel.
If my 8th-grade Spanish teacher could see me now…she’d probably think I was copying off someone else’s paper. But I’d know the truth. I’m learning a new language—truly learning—with Mondly.
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