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Brailey Gonsalves, University of Hawaii

15 March 2018

With all honesty, I had a lot of anxiety prior to my TalkAbroad conversation, but it turned out to be life-changing! Before my conversation, I was very nervous about talking to a stranger halfway across the globe in a language I have only been studying for one and a half semesters. Generally, I am introverted and soft spoken in person, and to all my introverts out there, you know exactly my struggle!

However, for my Spanish course, I was required to make a 30-minute appointment on TalkAbroad and speak only in Spanish, no English whatsoever! At this point in my course, we had just learned how to express our interests, how to ask simple everyday questions, past tense, irregular verbs, reflexive verbs, etc. I was okay with simple conversation, but I still struggled with describing food, comparing things and distinguishing when to conjugate verbs.

However, my partner, Carolina Rojas, was extremely patient with me and allowed me to fully process everything. I let her know beforehand, “Lo, siento. Necesito mucho tiempo para pensar,” meaning, “I’m sorry. I need a lot of time to think.” She was very understanding and allowed me explain myself at my own pace while she listened to every word I said.

Of course, there were a lot of times where I completely messed up and I knew it, but she gave me time to recover and try again. My biggest fear prior to my conversation on TalkAbroad was that the other person was going to speak to me too fast, use words I have not learned yet or was not going to give me enough time to understand and respond. Carolina did the total opposite of these things and it allowed me to feel very comfortable talking with her. It was like she already knew what I needed before she even met me!

I was still nervous during the conversation, but my goal was to be able to understand most of her questions and try to respond to them in the best way that I could. I was able to achieve my goal and leave the conversation knowing that I could at least speak a good amount of Spanish and understand it. To me, this was a success. Thank you TalkAbroad for having patient, understanding native speakers!