Should I learn German or Polish

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\STUDY FINDING #1\: “Truly novice users with no knowledge of Spanish need on average 15 hours of study in a two-month period to cover the requirements for one college semester of Spanish.”\

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\WHAT OUR CHALLENGERS SAY\: Our participants were definitely novices, and while we didn’t exactly cross-check results with a college Spanish syllabus, it’s pretty clear that they made big gains in a very short amount of time. Plus, they expanded their vocabularies beyond \“Quiero burrito.” Muy bien.\\

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\STUDY FINDING #2\: “The average study time for the final study sample was about 19 hours, or a little over two hours a week.”\

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\WHAT OUR CHALLENGERS SAY\: Actually, yes: Our challenge participants spent an average of 2-3 hours per week learning Spanish (not bad for a group holding down full-time jobs). And, as you can see from the videos, these few hours per week were more than enough to really start speaking the language.\

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\STUDY FINDING #3\: “The Babbel app works similarly well for people with different gender, age, native language, education, employment status, etc.”\

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\WHAT OUR CHALLENGERS SAY\: We got this one in the bag. Challenge participants, who all made pretty similar gains during the challenge, were men and women, speakers of different native languages and had different (though only slightly) levels of education. The thing they have in common (aside from a shared love for Tapatío)? Why, Babbel of course!\

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Learning a language is about \speaking\ a language, and with the help of Babbel, our novice challenge participants were able to start having conversations in just three weeks time, proving that Babbel is, indeed, the shortest path to a real-life conversation. Period.\

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We asked 15 of our hardest working Babbelonians to start learning Spanish with Babbel for 3 weeks. None were expert learners, and few had much free time to dedicate to language learning. So how did they do?\

Andrew Stoyanoff is a writer and editor based in Berlin, Germany.\

Andrew Stoyanoff is a writer and editor based in Berlin, Germany.\

\n","de":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff ist ein Autor und Lektor, der in Berlin lebt und ursprünglich aus Südkalifornien ist. Er nennt Sprache, Reisen und Kultur als seine Gründe, um morgens aus dem Bett zu kommen.\

\n","fr":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff est écrivain et rédacteur. Originaire du sud de la Californie, il est maintenant basé à Berlin. Comme il le dit lui-même, les langues, les voyages et la culture sont les principales raisons pour lesquelles il se lève le matin.\

\n","it":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff è uno scrittore ed editor che vive a Berlino. Viene dal Sud della California e, tra le ragioni per uscire dal letto la mattina, cita i viaggi, le lingue, e la cultura.\

\n","pt":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff é um escritor e editor com base em Berlim, na Alemanha. Originalmente do sul da Califórnia, suas razões para sair da cama pela manhã são idiomas, viagens e cultura.\

\n","pl":"","es":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff es un escritor y editor que vive en Berlín, Alemania. Originario del sur de California, sus razones para salir de la cama son los idiomas, la cultura y los viajes.\

\n","sv":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff är en skribent och redaktör från södra Kalifornien som numera bor i Berlin. Språk, resor och kultur är tre av anledningarna till att han stiger upp ur sängen (nästan) varje morgon.\

Chances are you’ve made a few resolutions this new year. And, unless you’ve resolved to be worse this year, as if that were possible (I kid, I kid), your resolutions probably center on self-improvement: turning your body’s “problem areas” into “solution areas,” finally figuring out what all the current memes mean, or calling your mother more often to tell her how much you love her.\

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Or maybe you’ve committed to learning a new language. And why not? After all, language learning isn’t just a great way to \sharpen your mind and broaden your cultural horizons\ — it’s also perfect for making friends jealous, complaining to your noisy upstairs neighbor in his mother tongue and snapchatting yourself as a pirate with a foreign language thought bubble.\

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Oh yeah, and it’s also (genuinely) life changing.\

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Whatever your reasons for learning a new language, Step 1 is the same for all of us:\

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Choose a language. (And no — you cannot skip this step.)\

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So, what’ll it be? Sami? Aramaic? Sanskrit? Those are some pretty great choices, but maybe you should start with a language you won’t have to visit the Arctic Circle to speak, or scour ancient texts à la \The Da Vinci Code\ to learn. To help inspire \your\ inner foreign language speaker, here, in no particular order, are a few languages you might just say \“halo”\ to this year (that’s “hello” in Indonesian). And remember: Whichever you choose, rest assured that learning a new language is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your brain.\

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French\

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Yes, it’s the \language of romance\, and yes, \people think it’s sexy\. I mean, really, what benefit of learning French can I give that you haven’t already heard 200 times before? For example, “Learn French, and order a bottle of wine the right way,” or “Get the girl of your dreams with these authentic French expressions.”\

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Not today, I say! No, today I’d like to talk about Lumière. Not the French pioneer(s) of cinema Lumière, the anthropomorphized candlestick from \Beauty and the Beast\ Lumière. Yeah, you heard me: I’m going to be the first person to recommend learning French to better understand a candlestick.\

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Hear me out. Who \doesn’t\ love \Beauty and the Beast\? And who doesn’t love Lumière, the most lovable character of all (besides Chip the teacup, of course)? And If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen the film a few dozen times, all the while glossing over some really useable French words and expressions like these:\

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  • Lumière: [\trying to prepare the Beast for his dinner with Belle\] \\Voila!\\ Oh, you look so… so…\
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  • Lumière: \\Ma chère mademoiselle\\. It is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you tonight.\
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  • Lumière: Ah, yes. When she comes in give her a dashing, \\debonair\\ smile.\
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  • Lumière: Of course, \\mon ami\\. I told you she would break the spell!\
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  • Lumière: \\En garde\\, you… you overgrown pocket watch!\
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Just imagine how enriched your 47th viewing of \Beauty and the Beast\ will be when you understand \everything\ Lumière says!\

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Of course, if you’re looking for a few classically \good reasons to learn French\: It’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the world (with over 220 million speakers worldwide); it’s the language of dance, architecture, haute cuisine and haute couture; and, \\frank\ly\ (see what I did there?), it’s easy on the ears.\

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Swedish\

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Let’s face it: What do you really know about Sweden? If nothing comes to mind but meatballs and \The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo\, it might just be time to expand your Swedish repertoire.\

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First, let’s talk fashion and style. It’s no joke — Swedes are über-stylish (many Swedish college students actually take out loans to buy clothes!). In fact, when I visited Stockholm a few years back, my “normal” clothes in tow, I may as well have been wearing a trashbag with a rope-belt for how pathetically my personal style compared.\

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Swedish is also \one of the easiest languages for native English speakers to learn\. The two languages are cousins in the same language family, and you’ll find tons of cognates: words that sound the same and have the same meaning (e.g. “story,” “superb,” “timid”). Plus, if you hate conjugating verbs, you’ll love Swedish — every verb is the same, regardless of subject. For example, “I am,” “you are” and “she is” all translate to \är\.\

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Not to mention: the films of Ingmar Bergman, the early 20th century expressionist poetry of Edith Södergran or the “Scandi Noir” of Håkan Nesser. That, and Sweden is a devastatingly beautiful country with devastatingly beautiful people.\

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Spanish\

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It’s the language your older brother tells you to learn because it’s easier than French and German. It’s the practical choice, the safe bet… the easy A (or, if you’re me, the easy C).\

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So why not turn the whole pragmatism thing into a positive? Sure, Spanish might be easier to learn than French or German — \but that’s a good thing\. (Did you know that there are 12 different ways to say “the” in German. Who needs that?) Plus, it’s the second most spoken language in the world, with over 440 million speakers, and the official language of 21 countries. Knowing Spanish is \your ticket to two dozen countries\.\

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Not to mention the beauty of the Spanish language itself — you’ll be hard-pressed to find another as fluid and song-like, or as quick and vibrant. It’s also the language of some of the world’s greatest literary voices, like Cervantes and García Márquez, as well as visionary filmmakers like Pedro Almodovor and Alejandro González Iñárritu.\

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Plus, you already know a lot more Spanish than you think. You’re familiar with \hola\ and \cómo estás\; you know how to count to 10 (\uno\, \dos\, \tres\…); and you can probably do some easy verb conjugations (\certain culturally offensive fast-food chihuahua comes to mind\). Unlike some of the other languages on this list, you have a familiarity with the language — you know what it sounds like, you know its rhythms. This is a huge advantage when learning a new language and a great place to start.\

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German\

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You’ve heard the cliches: German is an angry language that can only be shouted. German is harsh and humorless. German is the language that Augustus Gloop spoke in \Charlie and the Chocolate Factory\, and we all know how \that\ turned out.\

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While some sounds of the German language can be a bit, how do I say… \rough around the edges\, it can also sound totally soft and nuanced, its muted tones sometimes spoken so softly that one hardly need move one’s lips to speak.\

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And let’s face it, doesn’t \every\ language sound angry when shouted? And that whole “humorless” thing? Simply not true — sure, German humor might be \a bit different from what you’re used to\, but you’ll find German-speaking peoples to be quite funny, easy to smile and easy to laugh. Plus, it’s a language with some pretty great jokes:\

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  • \Wer im Glashaus sitzt, sollte zum Kacken in den Keller gehen. \(Those who live in glass houses… should go to the bathroom in the basement.)\
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Or:\

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  • \In der Disko\ (In the disco)\
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  • \Er: Willst du tanzen?\ (Him: You wanna dance?)\
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  • \Sie: Ja, gerne!\ (Her: I’d love to!)\
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  • \Er: OK, super. Dann geh tanzen und ich unterhalte mich solange mit deiner Freundin.\ (Him: Great, then go dance so I can talk to your friend here.)\
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German also offers loads of \super precise words\ that don’t exist in English. For example, \Torschlusspanik\, meaning “closing gate panic,” refers to the feeling you get when you realize that your chances of, for example, becoming a prima ballerina are beginning to “close” forever (personally, that’s been a hard one for me to accept). Or, particularly apropos for the present moment, \Weltschmerz\, or “world pain,” which refers to a kind of existential angst for the state of the world. Or, my personal favorite: \doch\, which can only be explained with an example:\

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  • Someone: Andrew… people are \not\ lining up to date you.\
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  • Me: \\Doch!\\ They absolutely are!\
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Indonesian\

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If you’re looking to get conversational \fast\ in a new language — say within a couple months — \Indonesian\ might just be your best bet. The grammar and vocabulary is relatively uncomplicated (especially compared to languages like French and German), and unlike other Asian languages that require learning new alphabets, Indonesian uses the Latin alphabet and doesn’t have confusing “tones” (\looking at you, Mandarin\).\

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While Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, with over 250 million people, its national language — Bahasa Indonesian, a standardized register of Malay — is only spoken natively by about 23 million people (with 156 million second-language speakers). Why so few native speakers? Indonesia is home to over 700 living indigenous languages (like Javanese, Sundanese and Madurese), and not everyone grows up speaking the language. Bahasa Indonesian, which find its roots in Old Malay, the common language used among traders hopping between islands, is now the lingua franca of Indonesia, serving to unite hundreds of disparate ethnic groups and cultures.\

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This means that, in learning Indonesian, you’re gaining access to a veritable smorgasbord of diverse cultural groups. It’s like a 700 for 1 special! Plus, plural nouns have never been more fun: just say the word twice to make the plural; for example, \baru baru\. How cute is that!? Very very!\

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Whichever language you choose and for whatever reason, know that learning a new language will never be a waste of your time or energy. Plus, it might just be one of the few resolutions you’ll actually enjoy this year!\

\n","excerpt":"\

Want to learn a language but can’t decide which one? From understanding candlesticks to improving your personal style, here are a few unconventional ideas to help you narrow the field.\

Andrew Stoyanoff is a writer and editor based in Berlin, Germany.\

Andrew Stoyanoff is a writer and editor based in Berlin, Germany.\

\n","de":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff ist ein Autor und Lektor, der in Berlin lebt und ursprünglich aus Südkalifornien ist. Er nennt Sprache, Reisen und Kultur als seine Gründe, um morgens aus dem Bett zu kommen.\

\n","fr":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff est écrivain et rédacteur. Originaire du sud de la Californie, il est maintenant basé à Berlin. Comme il le dit lui-même, les langues, les voyages et la culture sont les principales raisons pour lesquelles il se lève le matin.\

\n","it":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff è uno scrittore ed editor che vive a Berlino. Viene dal Sud della California e, tra le ragioni per uscire dal letto la mattina, cita i viaggi, le lingue, e la cultura.\

\n","pt":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff é um escritor e editor com base em Berlim, na Alemanha. Originalmente do sul da Califórnia, suas razões para sair da cama pela manhã são idiomas, viagens e cultura.\

\n","pl":"","es":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff es un escritor y editor que vive en Berlín, Alemania. Originario del sur de California, sus razones para salir de la cama son los idiomas, la cultura y los viajes.\

\n","sv":"\

Andrew Stoyanoff är en skribent och redaktör från södra Kalifornien som numera bor i Berlin. Språk, resor och kultur är tre av anledningarna till att han stiger upp ur sängen (nästan) varje morgon.\

\Even if you’re great at comprehending new concepts, brute force memorization can be a part of the learning process that trips you up. That’s particularly true when it comes to learning a new language and especially when you’re trying to figure out how to memorize vocab. There is a seemingly endless list of words and expressions to memorize, and many of us can barely recall what we had for lunch two days ago. \\

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\But don’t let this discourage you; half the fun of learning lies in the challenge. Wondering how to memorize vocabulary more effectively? There are a number of strategies you can try to make the process a little easier. We’ve compiled a few of our favorites below. Happy learning!\\

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How To Memorize Vocab When Learning A New Language\

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Choose Your Words Wisely\

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\Focusing on words that are relevant to your life and your interests will make a big difference in how well you’re able to memorize them. Not only are you more likely to remember words that interest you, but you will also be limiting the enormous number of words in your new language to a much more manageable chunk. \\

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\Expert language learner Luca Lampariello \\\told Babbel\\\ why he thinks word selection is so important:\\

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\\As your vocabulary in a language grows, it becomes much more difficult to find more useful words to learn, let alone memorize them. In this phase, it is important that you focus on words that are useful and relevant to you — words applicable to your home life, your job, and your interests. This vocabulary forms the core of what I term personal fluency.\\\

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Associate Freely And Often\

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\The best way to remember something is to \\\assign meaning to it\\\. Without context, words are just strings of letters that are extremely difficult to commit to memory. If you can associate the word with something you already know or something that you find interesting, however, it’s much more likely to stick in your brain.\\

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\Lampariello recommends linking several new words in a sentence to help create this context. For instance, if you’re learning the words for \\\dog\\\, \\\cat\\\, \\\rain\\\ and \\\sun\\\, use them all in a sentence. \\\The dog likes the sun, but the cat prefers rain.\\\ It may or may not be true, but it will almost certainly help you remember the vocabulary!\\

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Set It In Stone (Or On Paper)\

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\If you’ve ever taken a class at school, you’ve probably been told that taking notes is the best way to commit the material to memory. Writing down or recording yourself saying vocab words and their definitions will serve two purposes. First, it will help ingrain the words in your head, just like your high school history teacher said. Second, it will provide a study guide you can return to when you want to review the words you’ve already learned. When it comes to how to memorize vocab in a new language, this is one of the best for helping it stick in your mind. Which brings us to the next tip…\\

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Don’t Stop Reviewing\

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\One of the most important parts of the learning process is reviewing the material at regular intervals. Refreshing your memory via spaced repetition helps send the vocab from your short-term to your long-term memory. In fact, this is a key component of the \\\Babbel Method\\\ for teaching languages.\\

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\There are several effective ways to review vocabulary, both on your own and with a friend. One solo option is to make flashcards with the word on one side and the translation on the other, or better yet, write a sentence incorporating a few of the vocab words on one side and the translation of the full sentence on the other. A more social option is to \\\teach a friend\\\ some of the words you’ve learned and how to use them in context.\\

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Use It Or Lose It\

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\The thing about new knowledge or a new skill is that if you don’t use it, it gradually dissipates and leaves you back at square one of your learning journey. Practice won’t necessarily make perfect, but it will make sure the material you’ve learned doesn’t slip your mind. \\

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\The best way to reinforce new vocabulary words is to use them in real, meaningful conversations. Speak your new language with a study buddy, a teacher or a native speaker to make sure it stays in your memory. Few things are more frustrating than losing the knowledge you’ve worked so hard to gain.\\

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Now you know how to memorize vocab in a new language. Happy studying!\

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Committing new words to memory can be a challenge, but we’ve got some helpful methods for you to try.\

Dylan is Babbel USA’s senior content producer. He studied journalism at Ithaca College and previously managed social media for CBS Evening News. He’s currently pursuing his MBA part-time at NYU Stern. His interests include podcasts, puppies, politics, alliteration, reading, writing, and dessert. Dylan lives in New York City.\

Dylan is Babbel USA’s senior content producer. He studied journalism at Ithaca College and previously managed social media for CBS Evening News. He’s currently pursuing his MBA part-time at NYU Stern. His interests include podcasts, puppies, politics, alliteration, reading, writing, and dessert. Dylan lives in New York City.\

\n","de":"\

Dylan ist Senior Content Producer für Babbel in den USA. Er studierte Journalismus am Ithaca College und war später für den Social Media Auftritt der CBS Evening News verantwortlich. Er interessiert sich für Podcasts, Hundewelpen, Politik, Alliterationen, Lesen, Schreiben und Desserts. Dylan lebt in New York City.\

\n","fr":"\

Dylan a vécu un peu partout aux États-Unis avant de s’installer à New York. Il a fait des études de journalisme et de politique à l'université d'Ithaca, puis a travaillé comme responsable des réseaux sociaux pour CBS Evening News. Il aime le café, le chocolat, les petits chiens, Games of Thrones, le football, lire et écrire – mais surtout les petits chiens.\

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Dylan vive a New York ma è cresciuto in diversi stati degli Stati Uniti. Ha studiato giornalismo e scienze politiche all'Ithaca College e si è occupato dei social media per CBS Evening News. I suoi interessi includono il caffè, i cuccioli, leggere, scrivere, la cioccolata, Game of Thrones e il calcio. I cuccioli soprattutto.\

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Dylan mora em Nova York, mas foi educado em diferentes cidades nos Estados Unidos. Ele se graduou em jornalismo e política na Universidade de Ithaca, e foi gerente de mídias sociais para CBS Evening News. Dylan tem muitos interesses incluindo café, filhotinhos, livros, chocolate, Game of Thrones e futebol. O seu preferido? Filhotinhos, sem dúvida!\

\n","pl":"\

\Dylan pracuje w nowojorskim biurze Babbel. Wcześniej zajmował się mediami społecznościowymi dla CBS Evening News. Studiował dziennikarstwo i nauki polityczne. Lubi słuchać podcastów, czytać i pisać. Ma słabość do czekolady, „Gry o tron”, piłkę nożnej i szczeniaków... w szczególności do szczeniaków.\\

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Dylan vive en Nueva York pero se crió en diferentes estados del país. Estudió periodismo y política en la Universidad de Ithaca y antes de trabajar en Babbel se encargó de las redes sociales para el programa de televisión CBS Evening News. Entre sus intereses están tomar café, los cachorritos, leer y el fútbol... pero sobre todo, los cachorritos. Síguelo en \Twitter\.\