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Carla Chapman, Valdosta State University

20 Sep 2015

My name is Carla and I am a college Student at Valdosta State University. I’m currently taking Spanish 101 and learning any foreign language is an area I struggle with. I’m a full-time student and a full-time employee, so my time is limited. My first experience with TalkAbroad was a good one and it started before I even had my first session! To begin with, I had a TalkAbroad assignment due by Sunday night and when I signed onto the website on a Saturday, no slots were available. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to have a session and that I’d receive a zero on my assignment. I quickly used the “Chat with us!” help option at the bottom of the screen and the issue was immediately resolved. Not only was the issue resolved, the person that helped me told me not to worry and that she would get something worked out. I appreciated the customer service and the staff’s willingness to help you solve any issue you might have.

My first assignment with TalkAbroad was for my Spanish class and it was to help our class get past the nervousness of speaking to someone in Spanish with no English involved. This way my classmates and I could warm up to the idea of speaking to someone in Spanish and get a little practice all at the same time. My first session was laid back and fun. It didn’t cause me to be frustrated or overwhelmed. I spoke with Ms. Carla Alejandra Rodríguez on September 20, 2015 at 12:00PM. She was very sweet and despite the language barrier between us, she was very pleasant. I didn’t feel like I was being graded! I honestly felt like I was having a conversation with an exchange student or a pen pal (except over video chats).

Before we spoke, I was really nervous. I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to understand a word that came out of my mouth. I’m a true southern girl and I have a thick southern American accent. I was afraid there would be lots of uncomfortable silence. To put it simply, I thought it would go horribly. After the conversation with her, I felt accomplished. I was satisfied that I actually had a conversation in Spanish with someone and the conversation had meaning. We talked about family, best friends, pets and our hometowns! I was surprised she could understand me because my Spanish is horrible and needs lots of work. I was also surprised she wasn’t constantly correcting me. She genuinely tried to have a conversation without making me feel like it wasn’t good enough!

The cutest part of the conversation was when my dog, a Yorkie named Callie, jumped on the bed behind me to see what was going on. I had no idea she was there when Ms. Alejandra Rodríguez started saying “awwww.” I looked into the camera and saw her there! This gave us more to talk about and jokes being made about me having quite a few pets!