LANGUAGE – Learning as an Adult

Learning a language as an adult can be difficult. 

I am so jealous of children who are born to parents who speak different languages.  I have friends who are mother tongue in two different languages.  My friend, Victoria, grew up in Italy with and Italian Father and an English Mother.  She told me that her mother would only speak English in the house, but whenever they were outside, they would speak Italian.  I remember Victoria telling me that she would get so frustrated with her mother because Victoria wanted to speak Italian all the time, but her mother was insistent that she learn and speak English in the house.  Now, Victoria is mother-tongue fluent in Italian and English.  I’m very jealous of that.

I studied Spanish in high school for three years.Learning Portuguese 1 - Sheryl Grad

  • I was in a classroom with 29 other American students for an hour and a half 2-3 times a week. I am certain that I speak Spanish like a three-year old child.
  • Although I know a lot of vocabulary, I can only speak in the present tense.
  • I practice my Spanish when I can (taxi drivers, shuttle drivers, hotel staff, etc), but I am not fluent AT ALL! When I was learning Spanish (in the late 1990’s before the internet or smart phones), the only people I could practice with were my American classmates, and they were not a great help.

Now, in 2018, I want to investigate methods for studying a foreign language. 

  • Language on Vacation professes that it will improve your fluency.
    • By practicing the English language in America with a certified language teacher as your guide, people will gain more confidence with their speaking skills, sound more natural when speaking with Americans, and become more fluent with the English language.
    • English is studied in real situations.  Rather than imagining context in a classroom, people will study in real places like retail stores, restaurants, beaches, and government parks.
  • However, as with all foreign languages, everyone must start with the basics.

How do people learn a second language? 

  • Some people go to a language school to learn in a classroom with other students or just one-on-one with their teacher.
    • Language schools can be difficult because it takes time and effort just to drive or walk to school.
    • Students also have to pretend they are in a specific setting and imagine a created context to practice the language they are learning.
    • Sometimes, students miss a class because, as an adult, other daily activities interfere with language classes.
    • The only other people students can practice a new language with is other students who are also learning the language.

Learning Portuguese 1 - Classroom


  • In 2018, most people have a smartphone glued to their hands with dozens of apps loaded on to it. I have met many people who have a language app on their phones.
    • Currently, I have Google Translate which does simple translations – sometimes with hilarious but embarrassing errors.
    • I met a student who had Duo Lingo on his phone and I listened to him repeat random sentences that didn’t apply to any one context.
    • Facebook has been advertising Babbel as a way to learn a language in six months. They claim I can speak a language with confidence for just twenty minutes a day.  I always laugh when I see that advertisement because I can’t imagine that twenty minutes a day for 3-6 months in a country where Portuguese is not commonly spoken (my home country of America) will have me speaking a foreign language confidently.  I’m not confident after three years of Spanish in high school (and 13% of the US speaks Spanish).

But, I am going to try.

I am going to conduct an experiment

  • I will sign up for Babbel and devote 20 minutes a day to learn Portuguese.
  • I will document my progress on this blog (and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), and see if I can speak a foreign language confidently within the confines of my own English-speaking country.

Learning Portuguese 1 - BabbelPlease, follow this blog (or Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and see how I improve my language learning capabilities.  I will also be posting other articles about travel and learning English as a foreign language, but learning Portuguese will also be posted.




(noun, slang) – the front passenger seat of a car; most passengers prefer the front seat of a car and will yell out “SHOTGUN” to claim the front passenger seat.

Shotgun Website

Example #1:
Teacher: Today we are going to drive on California Highway 1. We are going to see beautiful views of the ocean and beaches.
Student #1: SHOTGUN!!!
Student #2: No! You sat in the front seat yesterday!

Example #2:
Mother: Okay kids, let’s drive to the grocery store to buy dinner.
Daughter: No! You had shotgun yesterday. I want shotgun today.

Post your own example of SHOTGUN in the comments section below.

When you travel with Language on Vacation, every student will receive a opportunity to ride shotgun.

TRAVEL – Countries to travel with English

Many people around the world speak English.  The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are some of the countries who use English as their primary language.  However, there are many other countries around the world that understand and speak English very well.

If you learn English, you will be able to travel all over the world and communicate with people from many, many countries!

Click here to read an article about 20 countries around the world that understand and speak the English language well.


Book a tour with Language on Vacation!  Travel to the United States and communicate with the American people!  Then you can travel to other countries of the world like the Netherlands, Singapore, and Argentina and communicate with the local people!

Click here to learn more about tours

Click here to learn more about all the tours

Click here to return to the homepage

Click here to return to the homepage

TRAVEL – California: a good idea!

California is a wonderful place to travel! Language on Vacation’s West Coast tour will travel in California from San Francisco to Morro Bay to Los Angeles to San Diego (and then to Las Vegas in Nevada).

Sign up for a West Coast Tour and see why California is always a good idea!


Click here to learn more about tours

Click here to learn more about all the tours

Click here to return to the homepage

Click here to return to the homepage

VOCABULARY – pit stop


(noun) – a break; usually a break to use the bathroom during a road trip

Example #1:

Passenger:  Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.
Driver:  Okay, we’ll make a pit stop at the next gas station.

Example #2:
Tourist:  Where is the next pit stop?
Tour Guide:  We will drive for two hours and take a break at a McDonald’s.  You can buy some food there if you want.

Post your own example of PIT STOP in the comments section below.

The United States of America is a large country and sometimes Language on Vacation spends a lot of time on the road, but we’ll make frequent pit stops along the way.


Click here to learn more about tours

Click here to learn more about all the tours

Click here to return to the homepage

Click here to return to the homepage

Thinking of you, Italy!


This morning I woke up to hear the news about another earthquake in Italy. I know what you’re going through, Italy. I also survived an earthquake when I was visiting Christchurch, New Zealand. It’s very scary to go through the shaking and then shocking to see all the destruction of your surrounding, beautiful city. I also remember a summer of aftershocks that made it difficult to sleep at night.

Italy is very special to me. I received my certificate to teach English as a foreign language in Firenze. I taught my first English classes in Roma. I love the Italian people. They are wonderful, passionate, friendly people!

I wish you well, Italy! Everyone with Language on Vacation has you in their thoughts. Take care!

Click here to learn more about tours

Click here to learn more about all the tours

Click here to return to the homepage

Click here to return to the homepage

IDIOM – into high gear


(idiom) – faster and more powerful speed

Example #1:
Student #1:  I want to quickly improve my speaking skills but that’s difficult to do in my home country.
Student #2:  You should go to America and travel with Language on Vacation.  That will kick your speaking skills into high gear!

Example #2:
Athlete:  When I exercise, I start by walking.  After 5 minutes, I get into high gear and run as fast as I can.

Post your own example of *IN HIGH GEAR* in the comments section below.

When travelling with Language on Vacation, your first day in the United States of America will be an easy, relaxing day, but we get into high gear on Day 2 by studying English and travelling around the US.


Click here to learn more about tours

Click here to learn more about all the tours

Click here to return to the homepage

Click here to return to the homepage