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Sydney Huckabee, Assumption College

05 Dec 2016

I am currently taking Spanish 4 at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts as a first-year student. For our midterm project, we were introduced to TalkAbroad. I have been taking Spanish since I was in second grade at my private school back home, so I have been very familiar with the language and culture.

For the assignment, we had to speak with a foreign speaker for 30 minutes about both our own and their interests, family, personal life and schooling. My partner was Daniela from Colombia, who was an excellent partner. I have always been a good writer and can read and understand Spanish proficiently, but I struggle when it comes to speaking. So, I was very nervous going into the conversation because I didn’t want to mess up or forget what a word was or conjugate verbs in the wrong tense or say something that makes zero sense and confuse Daniela.

To try and settle those worries, I created questions with about 20 different topics so things wouldn’t get slowed down and we could fill the whole time. Thirty minutes at the time sounded like forever, especially when you aren’t even speaking your own language. Ironically, when the time came, I didn’t even end up looking at the sheet one time. The conversation just flowed on like we had known each other for years, and of course I made a few mistakes here and there but she did not even acknowledge it and she let me take my time to say what I wanted to say.

We ended up learning a lot about each other and developing a friendship. It was so fun to learn we listen to the same types of music, we both love to play soccer and be adventurous and are studying the same major in college, but live in different parts of the world. I almost forgot I was even doing an assignment to turn in, as it felt more like a FaceTime with a regular friend. This experience is the best way for English speakers to learn how to speak Spanish. Sitting in a classroom trying to learn the language and culture is never going to be enough. Speaking and immersing yourself into the language and culture pushes you to the next level. I totally recommend this to anyone who is thinking about pursuing Spanish in college or as a career. This has inspired me to look at studying abroad in Colombia or Chile for a semester and not just chatting with a foreign speaker, but submerging myself in their everyday life.