Jo Franco - Shut Up and Go

Jo Franco is one half of the spontaneous and inspirational Shut Up and Go duo. Jo has already travelled with us, taking Spanish lessons in Cuba and a couple of Italian courses in Italy. Her partner in travel adventures Damon has also joined us on a Portuguese language course.

"Apple Languages offers a unique experience that introduces people of all ages and from all parts of the world for the common goal of learning a language."

As a fresh faced, self-proclaimed "Brazilian immigrant", Jo met Damon during the orientation day at college in New York City. Their shared love for languages and budget travel created an instant bond. An incredible entrepreneurial spirit and the dread of the 9-5 ensured that Jo and Damon combined forces to create their awesome blog and social media empire.

It is an absolute pleasure to team up with Jo and Damon! We hope they can help inspire YOU to Shut Up and Go on a language course with Apple Languages!

To get to know Jo a little better, we asked her a few questions before sending her on her October trip to Italy:

1.   What are the perks of being a travel blogger?

One of the best perks of being a travel blogger is the moment I'm experiencing right now: I'm sitting in a random coffee shop, hidden within the streets of London. As I sip my creamy flat white, I think about the pictures I've gathered from my morning walk, and what fun or entertaining text I can write to summarize my experience. This is an average day in my "office", which is basically anywhere my camera and laptop are. Being able to work from anywhere really changes your lifestyle.

What you see in text books is out there waiting for you to explore 👯 #Colloseo #Rome

A photo posted by Damon and Jo (@damonandjo) on

2.   From your experience, why is learning a language important?

Traveling to me isn't fun, or exciting if I can't connect with the people who make places special. Sure, we can try to communicate in English, but if someone is translating their original thoughts into a language they're not fully comfortable with, the essence of their message will be lost. Learning a language is my way of getting to the core of any location. Plus, nothing beats learning untranslatable expressions.

3.   How does being fully immersed in a language and attending lessons at a language school compare to learning at home?

There's not even a comparison! I'm like most people out there; if I don't use it, I lose it. It's critical to be surrounded by language in every way possible. When it becomes a part of your daily life, you'll have no other choice but to learn. It's also amazing to make friendships with people who can help you in your process that lasts beyond just your study trip.

4.   Do you think it is better to learn a language in a group setting or with private lessons?

I think it really depends on how you prefer to learn. For beginners/intermediate students, small group classes are best. If you're a polyglot, or need intense and fast learning, I recommend private classes. As a polyglot, I personally ask a million questions in my trouble areas (i.e. GRAMMAR), which is why a private class is perfect for me, I don't feel guilty about taking away class time from other students lol.

5.   After Italian, what language is next on your list to learn?

I'm so excited about my intensive Italian courses! You have no idea! Once I get a grip on Italian, I'll have become pretty fluent in all of the romance languages; bucket list item checked! I've dabbled with Arabic before, that could be my next goal.

6.   When taking a language learning holiday, what activities outside of the classroom do you enjoy or benefit from the most?

I really enjoy building a mini life in a city when learning a language. For instance, you know what place you like to go to for morning coffee, or where to chill during a break; it's great to feel like a local. I also love taking dance classes wherever I go, or seeing live music that speaks to the culture of the language I'm learning.

Very Varadero, Cuba 🌞⛵️

A photo posted by Damon and Jo (@damonandjo) on

7.   Can you name your favourite place in the world? And Why?

I fell in love with Cuba. It's more than just a place to take dreamy pictures, but rather an experience that awakens your mind to such a different reality. I took Spanish in Cuba and the conversations I had with my teacher absolutely helped me understand the condition of the country and the people. It couldn't have been a better place to get a local's perspective.

8.   To which country would you (or do you) continue to go back to?

In addition to Cuba, I go back to Italy often. I also love visiting France and Montreal to keep up with my French chops!

9.   Finally, what are your reasons for studying with Apple Language Courses?

It's one thing to take a trip and travel as a tourist, but it's a completely different thing to go to class in a new place. Apple Languages offers a unique experience that introduces people of all ages and from all parts of the world for the common goal of learning a language. At the end of the day, you make lifelong friends out of strangers who live on the other part of the globe; it's all pretty phenomenal.

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