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Emily Bonnell, Michigan State University

02 Nov 2016

I sat in my room for an hour before the conversation adjusting the lights, fiddling around, and reviewing my Spanish. When my partner entered the chat I hesitantly started talking about my class topic and moved onto cultural differences like snow. It’s funny because one of the things most commonly talked about with my Talk Abroad partners have been snow. Have I seen snow? Do I like snow? The women I talked to stated they’d never seen snow in person, but wanted to. I loved this. It was so fun and amazing to see the differences in cultures and be able to discuss things we both hadn’t experienced.

After my first discussion I felt that I had done pretty well, however listening to my recording I was so embarrassed by how incorrect a lot of my Spanish was! My partner was so supportive and helpful that I felt so secure in my Spanish, but looking back on it my nerves had definitely gotten the best of me.

My second conversation I was much less nervous for. Again, my partner asked me about snow! We talked for a while about different weather and cultural differences in our lives. Reviewing my recording with her I noticed my Spanish still wasn’t perfect, but it was improved a large amount from my first conversation. I also felt like I understood more of what she was saying, not just nodding along until I heard a word I recognized.

The third discussion I had was with a woman named Nallely, a name I had never heard before. It was really cool to see a different name that I had never encountered. This was by far the least nervous I had been for a conversation. Nallely was so sweet, encouraging, and helpful with me. We talked about a large range of things. One of the things that was kind of funny to me was that she talked about McDonalds, Krispy Kreme, and Dairy Queen in Mexico. She talked about how she liked American deserts such as donuts, which I’d never thought of donuts as an American desert before. She and I talked about the difference in Mexican foods in Mexico and the U.S.

After finishing my Talk Abroad the third time my Spanish had improved so incredibly much. Listening to the recording I didn’t make as many mistakes, and I had picked up on more grammar than I’d learned in class. For 2 days following I would accidentally think things in Spanish, or when taking notes I would accidentally write a word in Spanish. I think that’s so cool and exciting. Spanish is one of my passions, and being able to connect with a kind person in another country is such a cool and helpful thing to be able to do these days! I would actually want to do something like this once I’m done with the class because it was so helpful and interesting. I’m very thankful for having opportunities such as this.