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Emma Kern, Carroll University

3 Oct 2018

I’ve been studying Spanish for five years and I’m currently on my sixth year of taking Spanish classes. Even with all this experience in a Spanish classroom atmosphere, I’ve never experienced anything quite like TalkAbroad until now. I’ve experienced plenty of conversation practice with classmates, tutors and teachers, but I haven’t had the chance to speak with a native Spanish speaker until my conversation through TalkAbroad. I was nervous at first because I’m not a very confident speaker, so I was resenting the fact that I needed to speak to someone fluent in the language when I feel like I hardly know what I’m doing. Regardless of this fact, my experience with TalkAbroad was judgement free and felt extremely beneficial toward the improvement of my Spanish speaking skills. My partner, Shirley Pedraza Teves, was helpful and understanding of my current abilities and she asked me many different questions to provoke more elaborate responses.

One thing that surprised me during my conversation was how easy it was to talk to Shirley. She was a fluent Spanish speaker, which sounded intimidating to me at first, but after a couple minutes of talking to her I realized that it was silly of me to be intimidated by the fact that she knew more Spanish than me. I realized that I’m a Spanish student, which means I don’t need to be close to the same level as her. It also surprised me that the conversation went by so quickly. It felt as though I were talking to a friend, rather than a teacher or a tutor, which led the conversation to be more relaxed and enjoyable, rather than impersonal and formal.

To learn any language, one key aspect of learning is practice. TalkAbroad is an excellent resource for this portion of the learning process. Lecturing and written assignments will only take a student so far, therefore these learning elements must be paired with conversation practice and TalkAbroad is an excellent place to start. I’m so grateful that I have been introduced to this website, and I hope to use it more in the future to continue improving my Spanish.