A few years ago I was on vacation in the South of Spain staying at a small local hotel. After spending a day sightseeing I returned to my room to find a huge trail of ants had entered through a bathroom window. I walked down to the reception to report the problem which was a challenge since the receptionist spoke no English. My Spanish was limited but I remembered a friend telling me that thousands of Spanish words were the same or similar to English but just pronounced differently.
Well the receptionist did not understand “ant” so I figured I would add a Spanish ending and put on my best Julio Iglesias accent.
“Tenemos antos!” I said. The raised eyebrows and puzzled expression on the face of the receptionist clearly communicated that he did not understand. I then raised my hands to my head and wiggled my fingers trying to make them look like antennae, “antos”, I repeated. This only created a further contortion in the receptionist’s facial expression. I was determined to make myself understood and being a veteran of charades, I got down on all fours and shuffled around in front of him shouting “antos”. His face now turned to an expression of shock and he rushed from behind the front desk and raised me to my feet muttering the words “loco Ingleses”. I remember thinking at the time that this must be a relative of Julio Inglesias but later found out he was saying “crazy English”!
As I leaned against the reception desk, I saw a pen and paper which I grabbed and quickly drew a crude drawing of an ant. The receptionist’s eyes lit up in recognition as he excitedly said “ormiga!”. He disappeared into the office behind the desk and reappeared seconds later with a can of bug spray.
A few years later, when I was planning to take another vacation in Spain, my wife enrolled in a two week Spanish language immersion class. It was all day for 10 consecutive days and they were not allowed to speak any English. It was a hands-on interactive conversational class with everybody and everything in the room involved. It was also incredibly effective and she could conduct reasonable conversations in Spanish at the end of the course. When we were in Spain, she handled all the transactions and conversations flawlessly. Even though her vocabulary was not that extensive, she knew enough words to make herself understood.
Since then I have been I firm believer in immersion training. At the annual InfoSol Business Intelligence Seminar (IBIS), boot camps or immersion training have been growing in popularity and this year six out of the eight tracks are hands-on immersion training sessions. Three of those sessions are dedicated to Xcelsius with Beginner and Advanced boot camps and a new Xcelsius Gurus hands on workshop which will all be delivered by highly experienced Xcelsius specialists.