Yesterday I purchased Rosetta Stone, a computer-based learning tool to help learn languages. Rosetta Stone is considered to be the best way to learn a language, other than physical immersion into a culture, of course. It's used by the State Department, the Peace Corps, and NASA. Normally when you buy this program in the United States, it could cost you about $500 for an entire language, but I was able to buy the French language for $8 here in Ecuador. Not a bad deal.
Also, my friend Lucho bought Italian, so we're going to share the discs. That's a net savings of about $992 if we'd bought them in the United States. Sometimes the exchange rate works in our favor here. There's no real rush on the language, but we'd heard over the weekend how cheap the program was at a store in the center, and since we knew how expensive it is back home and how effective it's supposed to be, we figured why not.
I studied French for four years in high school, but unfortunately have retained nothing but a few words and phrases, so I'm hoping this will reboot my memory and bring it all back. Just glancing over the first session yesterday, I already started to remember things. As for Italian, I'm hoping that the connection between Spanish will be enough to help me out, and though I'm not expecting to be fluent by any means, as long as I can become conversational in the slightest sense, I'd be happy.
And though I'm leaving Cuenca in a week, if I start studying with these programs and like them, I might even pick up a couple other languages just for the hell of it. After all, if the price is right, it'd almost be stupid not to buy it. Another nice thing about this program is that once you've loaded it up, you can add any languages you want. So now that the program is on my computer, I can just pick up a new language and install it. With a little luck, I'll soon be able to speak a couple other languages.