8. Master a Second Language

Reader Poll: Skills

Sep 1, 2010
Outside Magazine

   Photo: Courtesy ISLS Costa Rica

A second language can get you a job, make you sexier ("Mon petit chou"), and even stave off dementia in old age. Then there's that part about talking to people on your adventures. The best available crash course is Rosetta Stone software ($229; rosettastone.com), which will teach you at least enough to ask your waiter not to bring fizzy water. A full immersion program is much better, of course. Don't have time to leave the country? Concordia Language Villages (concordialanguagevillages.org) offers four-day or one-week programs in ten languages at their campus on Turtle River Lake, in northern Minnesota. If you do have the time, and you want Spanish, the Institute for Spanish Language Studies offers a compelling combo program in Costa Rica: Spanish in the morning, surf lessons in the afternoon. ($1,200; isls.com)