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Tyler Albright, Ohio State University

01 Oct 2016

I was required to complete a TalkAbroad session as an assignment for my Spanish class and I was extremely nervous. I am only in the first level of Spanish and I kept thinking about how there is no way we will be able to communicate well and what if we do not understand each other and what if we do not have anything in common to talk about and all of these other concerns that now seem ridiculous. I spoke to a man from Nicaragua who was very cool and he was very understanding of my current inability to truly communicate effectively. We chatted for a while and despite the thousands of miles between us and the language gap, we began to sound like old friends catching up. He and I had a lot in common: we both love watching movies, we both love American and Mexican food, and we both love sports, especially my hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. It amazed me how we can have so much in common, yet not even speak the same language. Just getting to understand that alone was incredible.

I was very thankful for this opportunity to talk to someone from a different country because it enabled me to hear what a native speaker sounds like. I feel that being engaged in a conversation really makes you focus on what the other person is saying and how they are saying it as opposed to just listening to someone talk and no response is to be given. By making me respond immediately to his questions, it made me a little uncomfortable, as is the case when trying to display any new skill, but it made me really try and work to overcome that lack of comfortability.

The TalkAbroad experience is something that I would recommend to any student of a new language. It really helped me overcome some of my fear of attempting to talk in another tongue and I feel that it would do the same for anyone else. Regardless of whether it is an assignment or your own motivation, TalkAbroad will help anyone tremendously.