Teach Your Language, Stay for Almost Free
By Elijah Rivera
What do Rosetta Stone, four years in high school and an entire section of Barnes and Noble have in common? They all fail to teach you a second language. Time and time again it has been proven that a second language is nearly impossible to adopt without some form of intense immersion.
The best method is often cited as simply living in another country. Being forced to speak, listen to and even think in a different language is the only surefire way to fully embrace a language. The majority of us however, do not have the resources or opportunities to simply leave our current lives in pursuit of multilingualism. So how the heck do I learn Italian?
TalkTalkBnb offers a new alternative method, founded on the same concepts, where one can connect to travelers willing to speak their native tongues for the purposes of immersion in exchange for room and board. This new site is part of a trend that is growing–relying on the services of local people instead of professionals–from hotel stays in houses, to local guides via apps, more and more travelers are finding regular people can often do the best job in many different areas that were once the province of ‘experts.’
Created by Hubert Laurent and a group of college students, TalkTalkBnb offers travelers a pure language immersion. And you don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a program or DVDs, either. functionality but comes at little to no cost– you stay with a host, and you only speak their language. Simple, huh?
A Mutual Exchange
In addition to the basic needs being met through the program, founder Laurent describes a “mutual exchange of services…[that makes] interpersonal connections through language.” These services range from cooking, cleaning and include a number of other household services.
GoBankingRates.com rates TalkTalkbnb as one of the most affordable ways to travel.“The platform allows people to cut travel expenses through free boarding in a foreign country in exchange for teaching their native language to whomever they stay with,” said Daphne Duong, who works as a PR representative for TalkTalkbnb.
“In particular, families and students are able to use TalkTalkbnb as a powerful resource to learn, travel and save money.”
Alejandra and and Brooke used TalkTalkbnb recently. Both women, 26, were looking for an exchange in services. Alejandra was looking to stay in a coastal city of France while Brooke and her family wanted to improve their Spanish. Brooke and her family would soon be relocating to Spain, thus they needed a considerable immersion into the language and culture.
Although some concern was expressed in her brief stay, Brooke agreed to host Alejandra if even for the brief period of time that they would be showing her around Nantes, France.
However brief the visit, Brooke proclaims she was satisfied by being able to learn many Spanish words for many French foods and objects. Alejandra felt a similar enjoyment in being able to enjoy being shown around by locals and feeling less like a tourist than usual.
Learning Another Culture
Brooke feels as though the personal experience in learning Spanish with Alejandra is what ingrained much of the learning. “Even though it wasn’t anything formal, my family and I were still able to learn about the Spanish language, Alejandra’s culture and personality.”
As the traveler, Alejandra described benefits to the same degree. Beyond being able to experience two cultures at the American outpost which she arrived at, she insists that the experience exceeded her expectations in a number of ways.
Not only did she obtain a free place to stay, but learned about many cultural aspects of France from an intimate perspective.
Furthermore, and most importantly, she made a human connection that will last her a lifetime. That’s very much in the spirit of TalkTalkbnb’s mission Alejandra explains: “ This experience taught me that no matter where you come from, our main objective as human beings should be taking care of, and learning about other people.”
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