There’s no faking it. I’m struggling daily with the most basic task: communication. I have to speak, think, read, and write in Spanish 24/7 during my time here.
Although I’m surrounded by many people who can decipher my broken Spanish or can understand my Spanglish, it’s embarrassing to go through many hurdles to communicate a simple thought.
I expected this, and mentally prepared for this struggle while writing my Dean Rusk application. My year abroad in Buenos Aires couldn’t have prepared me for this, because I’m using Spanish in a formal, working manner. When I studied abroad, I used Spanish informally to socialize.
On the first day at Elemental, Daniella taught us the pitch to sell the summer camp. I was nervous because I’ve never used Spanish vocabulary or grammar to sell before, or used it in a manner that required a persuasive tone. We practiced various times, and although they were very understanding, I felt ashamed and disappointed in myself.
It’s gotten better now. I’m more comfortable finding new ways to express my ideas and opinions. More importantly, I’ve gained a new confidence that is required to keep the conversation going, even when I’m aware that I’ve made several small errors. Spanish in the classroom is a simulated situation that prepares you for much more complex, yet enriching challenges in the real world.