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Taressa Stringer, University of Alabama

25 April 2019

My name is Taressa Stringer and I am minoring in Spanish at the University of Alabama. My Spanish professor requested that my classmates and I have a conversation with a native Spanish-speaker from another country. TalkAbroad was especially helpful because it lets you pick which country your speaking partner is from and then it lists the available speakers with bios and labels letting you know if they are good at discussing difficult topics, in addition to being able to see if you have anything in common. In my case, I am in a Spanish Conversation and Controversy class, so my topic of discussion was terrorism, its effects, why it happens, how we can prevent it, etc. I chose a lady from Spain who was listed as being able to talk about difficult subjects and our conversation went great. I have been taking Spanish since seventh grade, but my ability to speak Spanish freely and in a conversation is very limited, so I was very nervous beforehand. It turned out that my partner’s favorite movie was Forrest Gump and I live in Alabama, so we were able to talk about that in the beginning to break the ice and then it went smoothly. She was extremely tolerant of me being nervous and messing up, which made me feel a lot better, and even helped me to feel less nervous. I had signed up for a 30-minute conversation and those thirty minutes flew by once we started talking. Afterward I kept thinking about all of the different things I wish I would have said and brought up before the conversation ended. I would definitely think about using TalkAbroad again without it being for a class project, so that I can have a real and normal conversation to practice more.