Mango: What motivated you to learn a foreign language?
SH: I was motivated to learn Swahili for a trip to Kenya in September. When visiting a foreign country, I like to be able to at least say "hello", "thank you" and "please", etc. I don't want to be the "ugly American tourist!"
Why did you choose to use Mango Languages?
In the past, I used the local library to check out language tapes and DVDs. They were cumbersome and not easy to use. The Assistant Librarian told me about Mango and the fact that I could use the app on my iPad or my computer.
What was your favorite part of the Mango program?
I really enjoyed the Mango program. It was very easy to access and lessons were laid out in a very straightforward manner. The repetition of words and phrases helped me with my pronunciation, which has always been a challenge for me. With Mango, I could review previous lessons and move forward at my own pace. A great feature are the native speaking narrators. Mango made it much easier and I was complimented on my pronunciation while in Kenya.
How did knowing the local language influence your travels?
Using Swahili added to the trip immeasurably. Being able to wish someone "good morning" or asking for their room number in Swahili inevitably brought a smile to their faces. I had several hotel staff shake my hand and tell me how impressed they were that I spoke their language. I would say "goodnight" to our guide, Mbaruk, and he would teach me to say "Nenda Salamma" or "sleep peacefully". Using even a just a little bit of the native language helped break down barriers.
The highlight was the last night when our entire group got together for a farewell party. Mbaruk told the rest of the tour guides how well I spoke Swahili and that if I would spend another six months in Kenya, he would make me a native tour guide.
Is there anything else about your trip or the language-learning experience that you'd like to share?
Even after returning, I still find myself reviewing the chapters in Swahili. Maybe someday we will return. As it is, I look forward to using Mango before my next trip, wherever in the world it may be.