Rosetta Stone: Helping Me Feel at Home in Taiwan

One of the great advantages of my family’s relocation to Taiwan is that we now have relatively easy access to some fantastic Asian vacation destinations. In the course of nine months, we’ve taken three wonderful trips—to Bali, Japan, and Thailand—made possible not only by location, but also by the wonder that’s an academic working calendar. Any of these trips would probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience if we were still living in the northeastern United States. But in our situation, we’re already able to think about return trips and all the other awesome places we’ll go: China, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, and about fifty other places in the region. There’s a downside, though, because as much as we love to travel, there’s no place like home. Especially when you’re traveling with a two-year-old.

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Glowimages, courtesy of Getty Images

The satisfaction and comfort of coming home can sometimes become lost upon reentry: communicating with a cab driver who can’t find your apartment, deciding what to pick up for an easy dinner after a long trip, or asking for help fixing your motor scooter which didn’t start easily after sitting for so long. Despite these issues, the confidence and basic skills I’ve learned through my early lessons with Rosetta Stone have made a huge difference in how I feel when I return to my new home in Taipei. After one vacation early on, our return almost felt like starting over. We were hit with much of the anxiety and culture shock that can come with having trouble communicating and getting through everyday routines. In the taxi from the airport, for example, we still had to use a preprinted card with Mandarin directions to our apartment. However, when we recently came back from our spring break in Thailand, we were able to use basic greetings with the customs and passport people, direct the taxi driver, and chat with the doorman at our apartment. Doing so gave us a tiny sense of control and belonging that made a tremendous difference.

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