April 24, 2015, by Rachel Bainbridge

Every day I seem to be learning something new

Perhaps the biggest fear of my year abroad was considering that I would actually have to speak Spanish. What if I don’t understand them? Or what if they don’t understand me? What if I don’t know enough vocab? I need to calm down, were my thoughts on my first day. After conversing a few words with the authorities at the airport and my taxi driver from the airport, I felt a bit better about myself. However, although this simple conversation seemed to flow okay, I still had to tackle the big challenge of learning to speak Spanish the Argentinian way.

My first encounter of the simple, yet noticeable differences in dialect occurred when I met my landlord for the first time and he kept on mentioning the ‘ssshhhaves’. After a few more mentions of this alien word and remembering where I was, it clicked that he was talking about the apartment keys (llaves) and then the check-in process significantly sped up. Since then and many conversations in the office later, my mind has auto tuned to the change in pronunciation. I have even started shh-ing and really getting to grips with the language acquisition. And, I really enjoy it!

That doesn’t mean I can speak it perfectly, there is still a frightening amount of words that I don’t know and moments when I open my mouth but I cannot form a response quick enough before I get a confused look. But every day I seem to be learning something new, whether it be new words revolving around office software I am using, or more likely new types of food I am constantly trying. Regardless of the reason, I seem to be picking up numerous words which I never would have been able to remember out of a grammar textbook in a classroom back in England. Hands down being outside of the classroom where you are surrounded by the language and culture is the best possible way to push yourself to practice and excel in Spanish – plus it’s a lot more fun! Trying to speak Spanish doesn’t feel like a chore but something enjoyable as you try to mingle in with the locals and feel at home – though due to my bright blond hair I don’t think I will ever be confused with a local.

Posted in Language acquisition