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Moriah Hayes, University of Oklahoma Part 1

11 May 2016

My first TalkAbroad experience was amazing, and I’m so happy to be able to say this. Initially, I was really apprehensive about it, because it seemed like the interaction would be a bit robotic and scripted since my Spanish is still limited. I worried that it would end up becoming a boring “20 Questions” session where my partner did all the talking and I sat quietly saying “Sí” repetitively.

But it was nothing like that! It was really, really fun and exciting, and my partner Andrés was incredibly kind and funny. I picked him because he’s from Quito, Ecuador, the beautiful city in which I’ll be studying next year, and I knew that I could pick his brain about the culture and environment of Ecuador. That’s exactly what happened. Andrés was so nice, helpful, and fun, and because I was excited and engaged in the conversation, he was too.

You have to remember that you’re talking to a real human being, not a program or a robot. Obviously you’re going to be a little shaky and limited in your conversation skills because you’re trying to learn a new language, but that’s completely and totally fine! Do your best, smile, laugh, enjoy interacting with someone on another continent, and enjoy learning and practicing a new language!

In my conversation with Andrés, we didn’t immediately delve into the subject of my assignment; instead, we shared a little about ourselves. He loves cooking, soccer, football, and traveling, and he’s traveled all over the United States for tourism work. I told him that I’m studying Spanish, and every once in a while during our session, I asked for his help with grammar or vocabulary, and he was knowledgeable and helpful in his responses. Even more, I found that my speaking flowed much more smoothly than I had anticipated, and I felt really confident in talking to Andrés, asking him questions, and even redirecting the conversation myself.

I am so, so pleased with this first experience, so much so that I plan to choose Andrés again as my speaking partner. Since we’ve already covered our initial greetings and “get to know you” questions, we can talk about other things, and I’m really excited for that. Overall, this experience was excellent, and I am fully looking forward to my next session.