in partnership with Rosetta Stone // photos by kristen kilpatrick and jenn rose smith

We stood staring at the upstairs toilet in our villa near Florence. The lid, which was thankfully closed, had one yellow post-it note stuck to it. The word “FAILURE” was scrawled in all caps on the note. Carmen immediately burst into her signature laugh, and none of us could contain ourselves when the housekeeper (bless her heart) showed us her phone, where she was using a free translation app that had come up with the word. With a little guesswork, we were able to decode the real meaning of her post-it (and avoid that bathroom for the rest of the trip). “La toilette non funziona?” asked Chanel. The housekeeper, excited to make contact in her native language, confirmed the question.

We’ve all experimented with free language apps in the past, and (just like our housekeeper) been frustrated with the results. So Team CS started using Rosetta Stone in preparation for our Italy trip back in May, and it’s safe to say now that our entire team is hooked on the program. We’ve each continued to use it after the trip was over, and it enhanced our time in Italy in so many ways. Rosetta Stone has been the gold standard in language learning for decades, and a lot of that has to do with the way the program is designed.

Something I never liked about learning a different language in the past was that I always had to try to translate the words in my head before saying them out loud. Because there’s no actual English in any of the Rosetta Stone lessons, I found myself just knowing what to say. In fact, you won’t hear or speak English at all when you’re inside the program. It makes the process of learning Italian (or whatever language you choose) feel natural and painless, and with their new app, even fun! Rosetta Stone is now available via tiered subscription so you can get access to the full program for as long as you want, whether it’s three months or two years, making it much more affordable and accessible. In preparation for our trip to Tuscany, we used the three month subscription (which is on sale right now) and you can try a free demo here. Read on to see how Rosetta Stone made our trip to Italy so much richer.

One of the aspects we like the most about Rosetta Stone is that we’re able to access it wherever we are: at our desks, on our phones, and even during a trip itself. We loved using the app together on our office iPad in the weeks leading up to our trip to Italy.

Carmen was even able to kill time at the airport between flights brushing up on her Italian.

Once we hit the ground in Italy, our time spent in the program really started to pay off. In particular, Chanel spent a good amount of time studying the “Phrasebook” section of the program, which teaches basic common phrases that are handy while traveling. The phrasebook has a section for meeting people, being polite, dining out, shopping, and many more. When we arrived at Caroline’s favorite gelato shop almost completely out of euros, Chanel was able to smoothly ask the cashier, “Accettate carte di credito?”

Caroline continued to use the program on her phone throughout the trip, and brushed up on “shopping” while we waiting in the long line for gelato.

One of the coolest features of the program is its advanced pronunciation training. You hear a native speaker pronouncing words and phrases and then test your own pronunciation by speaking into the microphone on your phone, tablet, or computer. Rosetta Stone’s TruAccent technology listens and tells you whether you’re hitting the mark or not. Several of the waiters we encountered on our trip were impressed with our ordering abilities… or maybe it was Kristen’s platinum blonde hair. Non lo so!

Chanel and Carmen enjoying authentic Italian gelato in Italy.

Grazie Rosetta Stone for helping make our Italy trip so much more fun! If we keep this up we’ll be fluent by our next trip… something to work towards.

See more pics from our trip to Italy on our new CS Travel site. Ciao bella!

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